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4 Things to Know Today

1. Sunday is World Rhino Day: Chahinkapa Zoo will have special rhino-related programming Sunday, Sept. 22. More info on page 4.

2. Patriots cut Brown: Antonio Brown was released by the New England Patriots Friday after rape allegations surfaced.

3. This day in History: In 1975, President Gerald Ford survived a second assassination attempt in three weeks when his would-be assassin was thwarted by a bystander within a group of onlookers in San Francisco.

4. Today’s Birthdays include Allan “Rocky” Lane, the voice of “Mr. Ed” (1909-1973); baseball manager Tommy Lasorda (1927-); “Mickey” singer Toni Basil (1943-); rocker Joan Jett (1958-); actor Scott Baio (1960-) and “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany (1985-).


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Three Wahpeton businesses burglarized

The Wahpeton Police Department is investigating the burglaries of three businesses. Each crime included theft and property damage.

The first burglary occurred at the clubhouse of the Bois de Sioux Golf Course, Wahpeton. It was reported at 4:44 a.m. Monday, Sept. 16.

Burglars were concerned with the club house’s safe, law enforcement confirmed. Approximately $30,000 worth of property was taken and an ATM machine received $2,000 worth of damage.

Suspects reportedly left the scene in golf carts, which they drove through town, Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson said. There may be as many as four suspects, Sergeant Matthew Anderson said.

While no suspects have been identified, caught or charged, they are facing charges of burglary, criminal damage and theft of property.

The Bois de Sioux Golf Course clubhouse is owned by the city of Wahpeton, while the golf course owns the inside content. The golf course is located at 1305 R.J. Hughes Dr., near Chahinkapa Zoo and Chahinkapa Park.

Two additional burglaries were reported later in the week. Both included property damage and theft and both occurred in downtown Wahpeton.

Clippendales Pet Grooming, located at 201 Sixth St. S., reported a burglary believed to have occurred between 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 and 7:20 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. The incident included theft of $300 and $1,100 in damages. There are no leads on suspects and the case is still under investigation.

Jiffy Lube, located at 620 Dakota Ave., reported a burglary believed to have occurred between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 7:50 a.m. Wednesday. The incident included theft of $350 and $250 in damages. There are no leads on suspects and the case is still under investigation.

The public is asked to share any information it has with the Wahpeton Police Department. The department can be reached at 701-642-7722 or by visiting 413 Third Ave. N. in Wahpeton.


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Aloha and mahalo

The Twin Towns community received sad news this week that retired Economic Development Director for the city of Breckenridge, Stan Thurlow, has passed away. He died unexpectedly Sunday, Sept. 15 in Fargo of an autoimmune lung disease.

I met Thurlow in 2011 as a reporter covering the Breckenridge Port Authority. He was economic development director for several cities and would come down to Breckenridge, Minnesota, a few times a month. He had a great smile and laughed easily. He always shared tales of his vacations in Maui with his beloved wife, UnaMae, so I’d greet him with “Aloha.” I told him that my sister lived there and he eventually was able to meet her while vacationing on the island a few years back.

He was a 1964 graduate of Fargo Central and drafted into the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam. Upon his return stateside, Thurlow earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from North Dakota State University and his master’s degree in community and regional planning. He then served as a city planner in the Fargo-Moorhead area before starting his own business in 1984.

He and UnaMae married in 1971 and raised their sons in south Fargo. He visited all 50 states and enjoyed music, sports and spending time with his grandchildren.

Thurlow was hired to work for the city of Breckenridge after the devastating flood of 1997. He assisted numerous residents repair their homes or purchase a new one by finding federal and state disaster funds. He also brought in countless dollars to the city over the years with his due diligence and expertise applying for grants and seeking out those funding sources.

The city was able to develop the Gewalt Addition thanks to Thurlow’s assistance, and the Highway 75 bike path. He made sure the city received Minnesota Investment Fund dollars and border city tax credits, among other programs.

Tony Casper, president of Breckenridge Port Authority, shared his thoughts on Thurlow.

“He was a great advocate for the city during and after the flood. He was instrumental in getting and retaining businesses in Breckenridge,” Casper said. “He helped find them financing to stay in town. He was the behind the scenes guy, a lot of people don’t realize how much he did for the city. Aloha, Stan.”

He stood up for the city and fought for its residents and businesses, and it wasn’t easy. If he was told no, he’d work another angle, another contact, until he got what he needed.

Mike Matz, former Port Authority president, added, “No matter what the outcome was, Stan always appeared to keep his composure.”

Former Breckenridge Mayor Cliff Barth also spoke about the important role Thurlow played in rebuilding the city more than two decades ago.

“When Stan came to us prior to the flood, we didn’t know the depth of knowledge he had, as far as flood recovery,” Barth said. “Once the flood was out of here, we started working with him to recoup the city. Stan had more contacts than I ever knew when it came to pulling money. He was phenomenal. No one else could have done that to help us recover financially.

Thurlow and his wife both worked countless hours together to assist the city and its citizens with flood recovery.

“There wasn’t anyone finer. Stan and UnaMae as a team, they helped our city beyond anything I could ever imagine,” Barth continued. “He got things paid for, he dealt with distraught residents. He was a godsend to our city. He stayed with us, all 19 years I was mayor.”

Thurlow retired in 2017, and Barth said they continued to exchange Christmas cards but never got the opportunity to get together for dinner or to catch up in person much after that.

“The man had a big heart and a hell of a good mind when it came to helping our city. He was very understanding with people, he stayed very calm,” Barth said. “He was a gentle giant.”

Aloha and mahalo Stan, for all you’ve done for our community.

Visitation for Thurlow will be from 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 at Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home, Fargo. Visitation will continue from 1-2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30 at Peace Lutheran Church in Fargo, with a memorial service at 2 p.m. The family requests in lieu of flowers, to consider a memorial donation to the JDRF Diabetes Foundation.


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Judge denies state's request in Petermann case

A defense attorney has not been disqualified from a felony case in Wahpeton. The state’s attorney’s office motioned for disqualification on grounds of jury confusion and prejudice against the prosecution.

Karen Sue Mullin, 72, is charged with one count of misapplication of entrusted property, a class C felony. The Breckenridge, Minnesota, woman is represented by attorney Jonathan Green, who has an office in Wahpeton.

Green is president of the Aerie board of the Wahpeton Eagles Club. Mullin’s case concerns a June 2018 benefit held at the club’s former building in Wahpeton.

“The petition said I have too many facts about the case and am too closely tied to the case,” Green told Daily News Friday, Sept. 20. “To be honest, I think the reason is that I’ve tried more cases in the last five years and won more jury trials than any other attorney in town during that time.”

Judge Bradley Cruff presides over the Mullin case. Richland County Assistant State’s Attorney Casey Moen represents the state of North Dakota. A hearing regarding Green’s possible disqualification occurred Thursday, Sept. 19 in Richland County District Court.

“The judge denied the state’s motion. In denying the motion, the judge decided Mr. Green is not disqualified,” Moen said.

Mullin was manager of the Wahpeton Eagles Club when the club organized a benefit for Jacob Petermann, according to her criminal complaint. The benefit took place on June 30, 2018 at the Wahpeton Eagles Club.

“Kari Heiser, kitchen manager at the Eagles Club, organized the benefit and she told Jacob’s mother, Connie Petermann, that the proceeds from the benefit would be collected by the Eagles Club and distributed to the Petermann family,” the complaint states.

The money collected from the benefit was stored in Mullin’s office at the Eagles Club, the court documents continue. Mullin and Heiser were stated as having counted the money from the benefit.

“On or about Sept. 19, 2019, the issue of missing funds from the Petermann benefit was discussed at an Eagles Club meeting,” the state’s attorney’s office wrote. “Ms. Heiser is a co-defendant in (Mullin’s) case and Ms. Heiser is also the defendant’s daughter.”

On Sept. 25, 2018, Richland County Dispatch was notified of a possible theft of money from the Petermann benefit. The reported theft was investigated by the Wahpeton Police Department, Richland County Sheriff’s Office and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

“Through this investigation (they) discovered that more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 were misapplied by (Mullin) and Kari Heiser,” the complaint states.

The Eagles Club has an Aerie board and a board of trustees, Green said. On June 30, 2018, he was a member of neither board.

Following the benefit, Green was appointed vice president of the Aerie board. He now serves as Aerie board president.

“After serving as vice president, I was moved into the president spot,” Green said. “In June, we have our elections and move the offices around. Next year, I would be in the past president’s role and one of the five members of the board of trustees.”

The board of trustees is in charge of operations for the Eagles Club.

Citing North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct, the state’s attorney’s office stated Green should not act as an advocate at a trial in which he’s likely to be a necessary witness. Green Law Firm stated Green is not a necessary witness.

“There are many witnesses who can attest to the facts in this case,” the firm wrote. “The undersigned’s (Jonathan Green’s) testimony is largely hearsay and has been well documented with law enforcement. The basic information and facts that the undersigned disclosed to law enforcement are also largely uncontested.”

Green, the state’s attorney’s office wrote, acknowledged to law enforcement that he could be a witness because of his position on the Wahpeton Eagles Club board. He also acknowledged that it would likely be a conflict for him to both serve on the Eagles Club board and represent a defendant who was accused in a theft of cash from an event overseen by the Eagles.

“Mr. Green inserted himself into the case by conducting an investigation into the missing funds on behalf of the Eagles Club, contacting law enforcement regarding the missing funds, providing the officers with the defendant’s admissions, participating in decisions about whether and how much the Eagles Club should pay the Petermann family and by delivering a check to the Petermann family on behalf of the Eagles. For all of the above reasons, Mr. Green is a necessary witness for the state,” the state’s attorney’s office wrote.

Mullin made her initial appearance before Richland County District Court in July 2019.

Heiser, 51, has also been charged with misapplication of entrusted property. She is scheduled to make her initial appearance Monday, Sept. 23. Court documents do not list an attorney for Heiser.

“Like anyone else, she can hire her own attorney,” Moen said. “When she appears in court, she can also request the court appoint her an attorney.”

It is common for people making initial appearances in court to do so without an attorney. Green said he cannot represent Heiser because he is representing Mullin, her co-defendant. There are circumstances where he could represent both defendants, but this is not a case where that’s applicable.

The maximum penalty for a class C felony is five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.

Jacob Petermann, Wahpeton, was diagnosed with cancer in January 2018. A broken femur led to the diagnosis of a cancerous tumor in his leg. He subsequently underwent chemotherapy and a partial amputation.

Connie Petermann has spoken about the situation since it became public knowledge.

“Why would anyone do this?” she asked in September 2018. “I have no answers. I only know I have been with with my son every minute to help him fight on his journey and I will continue fighting until things are right.”


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Miles for Max: Turning loss into love and comfort

The ninth annual event Miles for Max 5K was held Saturday, Sept. 14 at Wahpeton’s Chahinkapa Park. This fundraiser is organized by Anna and Adam Marohl to honor their late son and support those who have experienced the loss of a child.

Eighty-two runners and walkers gathered at Chahinkapa Park and made their way through the Wilkin County Fairgrounds to raise money, awareness, and support for those who have experienced the grief of losing an infant or child. The winners of the event were Kiera Wiertzema and Gerner for women and Adam Brevik and Eli Rieger for men. The BIO Girls Rose Hardie and Janelle Berseth were awarded as well.

The Marohls began organizing this event in honor of their late son Max, who was born too small to survive at 18 weeks gestation in May 2011. That night, the Marohls were given a bereavement memorial box that contained molds of their son’s hands and feet, a quilt, hat, angel pin, baptismal cloth and candle.

This act of kindness warmed their hearts and so they wanted to ensure others who were experiencing such a loss were able to feel the comfort that Sanford provided. The couple was approached by women and men who shared that they were not able to have a memory box provided to them during their experience.

“We wanted to keep that (bereavement memory boxes) something that Sanford can always do and we want them to know how impactful it is for families when they lose a child,” Anna Marohl said as she explained why she continues to support and fundraise for Sanford.

The couple started the event with the intent to raise money to maintain Sanford’s ability to continue this act of kindness. Now the event has flourished into a place for men and women to join them and share their stories. Many have never felt they had a voice or the opportunity to share the story of their child. Miles for Max “gives them a chance to talk about their child that they may have not been able to before,” Marohl said.

Infant and child loss is a very difficult and tender subject. Finding the words and support to offer those grieving is challenging for family members and friends. Miles for Max offers a platform for all to come together where one can find comfort, share what has helped them, and how to be supportive.

“It’s a way to talk about their child. To say their name and share their story,” Marohl said.

The Wahpeton BIO Girls were hosted at the fundraiser as well. Marohl exclaimed her gratitude to be a part of that organization and believe it was a “double impact.” This is the second year the BIO Girls participated in the 5K.

Marohl was very pleased with the event overall. With beautiful weather brought a much larger crowd of spectators than in past years to join and support all those participating in the event.

The latest donation count is approximately $3,000 which continues to rise as donations are being collected. One-hundred percent of proceeds go to the Sanford Family Bereavement Fund and the neonatal infant care unit (NICU) at Sanford Health Clinic. The entirety of donations can be donated to Sanford due to the hands-on help of the Marohl family and the online registration portal Sanford provides. The OB nurses at Sanford volunteer themselves to make these memorial boxes for those who endure the loss of a child.