Man arrested after shots fired into vehicle in Jamestown

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (FNS) — A 22-year-old man was arrested Sunday, Oct. 6, after shots were reported fired into a vehicle, the Jamestown Police Department said. No injuries were reported, police Lt. Robert Opp said.

At about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, several reports were made to the Stutsman County Communications Center of hearing gunshots in the northeast section of Jamestown. The police responded to the general area but found nothing.

At around 10 a.m. Sunday, an individual found five bullet holes in the side of his vehicle, Opp said. Four 9 mm casings were found in the street near the car.

During the investigation it was learned that the owner of the vehicle had been at a party and had an altercation with another male. This male left the party, returned a short time later and allegedly fired five rounds into the driver’s door of the victim’s vehicle which was parked and unoccupied, Opp said.

No other vehicles were targeted, no other damage was reported in the area and no one was injured.

The 22-year-old man arrested is being held on several felony charges.

Family who lost sons in deadly ND crash sues semi driver, company

FARGO (FNS) — A Fargo mother has brought a lawsuit seeking damages from a truck driver and his company for a 2018 crash on Interstate 29 that killed her two young boys.

The crash happened when Trista Curry and her three children were making a trip from Fargo to Stephen, Minnesota, in March 2018. Curry lost control of her vehicle near Grand Forks and slid in front of a semi.

According to the lawsuit, the parents feel the truck driver is to blame because he did not allow enough space for Curry to pull in front of the semi and alleges the truck driver should not have been on the road due to the snow.

Curry and the children’s father are suing the truck driver and the trucking company for $10 million.

Swedish climate activist Thunberg to visit Standing Rock, Pine Ridge

FARGO (FNS) — Newly famous Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is taking a trip to Indian Country to discuss climate change and oil pipelines in a pair of panels with Indigenous rights advocate Tokata Iron Eyes.

Sixteen-year-old Thunberg visited the Pine Ridge Reservation Sunday, Oct. 6, and will visit the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation Tuesday, Oct. 8, according to a press release from the nonprofit Lakota People’s Law Project. Thunberg gained notoriety when she began appearing at the Swedish Parliament to demand climate justice and has since organized worldwide climate strikes.

Thunberg met Iron Eyes, who was born on the Standing Rock Reservation, in September at George Washington University. The teens formed a friendship from there, and Thunberg accepted Iron Eyes’ invitation to visit her homeland, the press release said.

Iron Eyes, a junior at the Red Cloud Indian School at Pine Ridge, became a “water protector” in 2016 when she participated in protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which attracted international attention to Standing Rock as tribal members sought to protect their ancestral lands and the Missouri River from pollution. Though the protests ended and the pipeline was installed, the tribe continued to fight the line in court and pursued a sustainable environment within its borders.

Steve Sitting Bear, deputy director of the Standing Rock Community Development Corp., said previously, “A lot of local people that have been empowered through that movement are continuing their work and trying to make a difference.”

The first youth climate crisis panel took place Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Red Cloud Indian School Field House. Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner made the opening remarks. The second panel will take place Tuesday morning at the Standing Rock High School gym in Fort Yates.

Snow possible in the Red River Valley by Thursday

GRAND FORKS (FNS) — Snow is possible throughout the region by the end of the week, according to the National Weather Service.

Monday, Oct. 7, and Tuesday will have milder weather, with highs in the 60s, but the weather service predicts that highs on Thursday will be in the 30s. Rain is predicted to turn into snowfall as the temperatures decrease.

Details about how long the snow will fall and how much the region could accumulate are still unclear, the weather service said. Snow is most likely to hit Thursday and Friday, but the weather service said it is possible Wednesday night and Saturday, also.

There is potential for heavy snow, which the weather service said could cause challenges for drivers.

The first snowstorm of last winter hit Oct. 10 and dropped just over an inch of snow in the Fargo-Moorhead area while other parts of North Dakota saw almost a foot. Grand Forks received nearly 6 inches of snow and the Air Force base had 19 inches.

Crews hope to finish streets on fringes of Moorhead underpass this fall

MOORHEAD (FNS) — Although the railway underpass on Main Avenue in Moorhead won’t open until next summer, work continues on the project, especially on two new stretches of roadway on the fringes of the underpass that should improve traffic flow.

City traffic engineer Jon Atkins said work is expected to be completed late this fall extending 21st Street leading into the underpass and reopening the intersection with Fourth Avenue South to improve traffic flow around Moorhead High School. The roadway from near the Casey’s General Store to the south is being reconstructed and motorists will be able to turn onto and off Fourth Avenue when the project on the northeast side of the underpass is completed this fall.

A retaining wall is already in place around the roadway in that area.

The other roadways to be completed this fall are on the west side of the project where a portion of Main Avenue has been reconstructed in the 1800 block up to 19th Street which is also being reconfigured and rebuilt to provide a safer and easier connection into the Tastee Freez area. Main Avenue will continue to be closed to the east past 19th Street because that is where the roadway drops farther into the underpass.

Meanwhile, crews continue to build retaining walls in the area of the underpass as well as railroad bridge piers.

What has slowed the project is concern about the safety of the “shoo fly,” a temporary bridge that was built for the Otter Tail Valley Railroad and BNSF Railway tracks. There was a slope failure on the shoo fly in early August which is still being examined for safety, but it also stopped any work in that area.

Atkins said most of the work on the three railroad bridges in the underpass, two of which were hoped to be completed this fall, has been halted for this year because of the shoo fly situation.

Additionally, a second period of overnight excavation work planned for this fall has been cancelled and will likely now be done in the spring.

Despite all of the problems and recent rainy weather, the project is still estimated to be about 58 percent complete.

Officials: Minn. loses hundreds of thousands of dollars to smuggling

ST. PAUL (FNS) — Minnesota authorities intent on recovering thousands of dollars in lost tobacco taxes have set their sights on Interstate 94, just west of the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

Officials say smugglers have been bringing in tobacco products by the truckload from Indiana, where the tax is one-fourth of what Minnesota charges. They sell the products here to wholesalers and retailers and on the black market, and the tax is never collected.

But the Minnesota Department of Revenue has ramped up efforts to deter the sale of untaxed tobacco by partnering with law-enforcement agencies and cracking down on local businesses selling the products.

Much of their focus has been on the east metro. Five major busts have occurred near the St. Croix Weigh Station on Interstate 94 in Lakeland since 2016.

“Look at a map,” said Rick Hodsdon, the prosecutor who has been handling the tobacco cases in Washington County. “Tobacco is real cheap, comparatively, in Indiana. You get on I-90 and when you get to Madison, you take 94 up to the Twin Cities. It’s a pipeline.”

In 2018, Minnesota collected $501,714,000 in taxes on cigarettes and $103,337,000 in taxes on other tobacco products.

Minnesota has the seventh-highest cigarette tax in the U.S., and ranks fifth in net cigarette smuggling, according to the Tax Foundation.

The state’s smuggling rate increased significantly after the Legislature passed a 130 percent excise tax increase on cigarettes in 2013, said Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan.

Smugglers once were busted bringing cigarettes “from China through a New Jersey port that were then scheduled to be shipped by truck to California with the expectation of profit,” he said, “so it does not strain credulity to suggest that these smugglers might be willing to cross a couple of states to make money.”

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