Former UND women’s hockey players appeal lawsuit dismissal

BISMARCK (FNS) — Former members of the defunct University of North Dakota women’s hockey team have appealed the dismissal of their discrimination lawsuit against the state’s university system.

The former players filed a notice of appeal to the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in mid-July. Their attorney previously said they had not yet decided whether to appeal.

The lawsuit claimed the university’s decision to cut the women’s hockey program in 2017 violated Title IX, which bars discrimination based on sex in programs that receive federal financial assistance. The lawsuit aimed to reinstate the team.

The University of North Dakota cut the women’s hockey team, along with men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, in an effort to trim budgets with an expected drop in state funding. But the move was met with disappointment in a hockey-heavy culture in Grand Forks.

Attorneys for the former players didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment. A spokesperson for the North Dakota University System declined to comment Tuesday morning, Aug. 13.

Southwestern Minnesota boy, 7, dies in lawn mowing accident

RUSHMORE, Minn. (FNS) — A 7-year-old boy from the southwestern Minnesota community of Rushmore died Monday afternoon, Aug. 12, in a lawn mowing accident, the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to the Nobles County Sheriff’s office, responders received a 911 call to 21919 330th St. in Rushmore. While responding, deputies were informed the boy, Kelvyn Leuthold, was already being transported to the hospital.

Deputies discovered Leuthold was unresponsive at Sanford Worthington Emergency Services and he was pronounced deceased by the attending physician.

Rushmore is about 12 miles west of Worthington.

Blue alert test scheduled for Thursday in Minnesota

ST. PAUL (FNS) — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has scheduled a statewide test of the Minnesota Blue Alert System at 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15.

Blue alert was created as a tool to help locate suspects when a local, state or federal officer is killed or seriously wounded in the line of duty. There have been no blue alert activations since its creation in 2015.

The alert in Thursday’s test and in an actual blue alert would be distributed in several ways:

• Email, text message and/or fax to Minnesota media and subscribers to the Minnesota Crime Alert Network.

• A recorded emergency alert system message.

• Electronic highway message signs activated regionally or statewide, depending on information known to law enforcement at the time, although Thursday’s test will not be displayed on highway signs.

A blue alert includes many of the same types of information as is typically provided in an Amber Alert, including detailed vehicle information, information about the suspect and circumstances of the incident.

For more information, visit https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/bca/Pages/default.aspx.

Worker killed at Twin Cities auto parts plant

LAKEVILLE, Minn. (FNS) — An employee of a Lakeville auto parts manufacturer was killed Monday, Aug. 12, after coming into contact with a piece of equipment, officials say.

The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified of the death and is reviewing the circumstances of the incident, state OSHA communications director James Honerman said. No further information about the incident was immediately available, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The company, QA1, which specializes in automotive suspensions and driveshafts, has received six citations from state OSHA over the past five years, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. Two of those infractions were classified as “serious.”

Becker County landfill station damaged by fire

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. (FNS) — The Becker County Transfer and Landfill station sustained “significant fire damage” after a fire Monday night, Aug. 12.

Becker County Fire Chief Scott Flynn said it is believed that garbage caught on fire.

“It’s hard to say what people put in (the landfill),” Flynn said.

Steve Skoog, the administrator for the Environmental Services, and Flynn both are unsure of what sparked the fire. It could be from combustion, ashes, rags or many other things, they said.

Nobody was inside the building when the fire happened around 7:30 p.m., so there were no injuries. The building itself has “significant fire damage to it,” Flynn said.

The Transfer Station building opened in 2017 at a cost of $2.9 million, which was partially paid for through a state grant.

Eagan man sentenced to 25 years for beating death of boy

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (FNS) — An Eagan man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend’s foster child after having to change the boy’s diaper was sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 13, to 25 years in prison.

Charles Wayne Homich, 28, was sentenced by a judge in connection with the 2017 death of 3-year-old Zayden Lawson. Zayden was a foster child in the care of Homich’s girlfriend, Zeporia Dionn Fortenberry of Eagan.

A Dakota County grand jury in December indicted Homich on four counts of first-degree murder and two counts second-degree murder. In April, he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder (commission of a felony-malicious punishment of a child).

In June, Fortenberry, 32, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to three years and five months in prison.

Fortenberry’s babysitter told investigators that Fortenberry regularly asked (the babysitter) to care for the kids while she was at work because “she did not trust Homich with Lawson,” and that “Homich would ‘lose his cool’ if he had to change Lawson’s dirty diaper,” according to the criminal complaint against Homich.

An autopsy revealed evidence of blunt-force trauma injuries to the boy.

Clearbrook man faces murder charges in stabbing death

BAGLEY, Minn. (FNS) – A 23-year-old man was charged Tuesday, Aug. 13, with two counts of second-degree murder nearly two weeks after he allegedly stabbed and killed a 37-year-old woman in Rice Lake in North La Prairie Township.

Tristan Edward James Kilde of Clearbrook is facing one count of intentional second-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder while committing a second-degree assault. Each of the two counts could result in as many as 40 years in prison, according to court documents.

As law enforcement responded Aug. 1, there were several people kneeling next to the victim. Natasha Marie Thompson of Rice Lake still had a weak pulse and life-saving measures by medical personnel were not successful.

Kilde is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, Aug. 14, in Bagley.

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