Grafton man gets prison time for raping teen

GRAFTON, N.D. (FNS) — A Grafton man will spend 12 years in prison for raping a 14-year-old girl last spring.

Terry Lee Moran, 52, pleaded guilty to gross sexual imposition in April.

An affidavit for his arrest said the teen was at Moran’s house on the 600 block of East Ninth Street on May 25, 2018. Moran raped the girl and the affidavit said his DNA matched samples taken from the teen during the sexual assault examination.

He was arrested in August 2018, and the original charge was amended to a higher felony level in September 2018. The maximum sentence for gross sexual imposition is life in prison without parole.

Moran will spend eight years on supervised probation after he’s released from prison.

Canadian man identified in fatal motorcycle crash

GRASSY BUTTE, N.D. (FNS) — A Canadian motorcyclist killed Sunday, Sept. 8, heading to Sturgis, South Dakota, was identified as Randy Moore of Warman, Sask., the North Dakota Highway Patrol said.

Moore lost control of his bike after witnesses told authorities the 55-year-old swerved to avoid a vehicle which had crossed the centerline on U.S. Highway 85, about a mile south of Grassy Butte.

Moore, who was wearing a helmet, was riding with a group of other motorcyclists. He died at the scene.

Grassy Butte is about 55 miles north of Dickinson.

Artist raising awareness of missing and murdered indigenous women

GRAND FORKS (FNS) — The news of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind’s murder struck artist Kimberly Forness Wilson “so totally deeply” that she started painting.

She created a 6-foot-by-4.5-foot painting titled “She Brings Them Home,” now displayed at her gallery in Grand Forks. In the piece, bright colors swirl in the background, but are overshadowed by dark shades to symbolize the grief of losing Savanna. In the middle, a woman is walking away, “carrying Savanna to the stars,” Wilson said. In the foreground are the faces of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

“I put a lot of bright colors and motion in the painting to keep your focus,” she said. “I didn’t want a passive grief. I wanted the energy to stay, so you look at it and really have conversations.”

LaFontaine-Greywind, 22, was eight months pregnant when she went missing from her Fargo home on Aug. 19, 2017. Her baby was cut from her womb, and the child survived. Searchers found LaFontaine-Greywind’s body in the Red River nine days later.

Her case sparked congressional bills such as Savanna’s Act to help address the North American crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. The case spurred grassroots efforts, like Wilson’s, as well.

Wilson said LaFontaine-Greywind’s murder had an impact on her family, as her husband is Native Hawaiian along with her daughter. But she said the loss is devastating to everyone.

“I’ve always walked with the belief that everybody has a gift of life in them,” she said. “Somebody as bright and shining as Savanna is a loss to all of us.”

Wilson held on to the painting until she felt it was the right time to show it. In August, she hosted a group walking 550 miles along the Red River to honor the water and bring attention to violence against indigenous women. That’s when she met Rep. Ruth Buffalo, D-Fargo, who helped start the Fargo Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force after Savanna’s murder. That’s when it “all clicked,” Wilson said.

On Aug. 10, the artist displayed the piece for the first time at her Arts for Vets gallery at 215 N. 3rd St. in Grand Forks. More than 200 people walked through. In addition to putting the painting on display, Wilson played a song she wrote titled “Oh My My” about a woman singing to her abductor.

Trench collapses, killing Hewitt man

HEWITT, Minn. (FNS) — A man was killed when the trench he was working in collapsed Saturday, Sept. 7, in rural Hewitt.

Aaron Broughton, 33, of rural Hewitt, was laying water lines when the trench collapsed, according to a news release from the Todd County Sheriff’s Office.

Broughton was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation.

Former gubernatorial hopeful launches health care site

ST. PAUL (FNS) — Former Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate for Minnesota governor Erin Murphy on Tuesday, Sept. 10, announced that she would launch a nonprofit aimed at sharing stories of Minnesotans' problems accessing health care.

Murphy launched the website and nonprofit to crowdsource Minnesotans' health care stories. On the website, called Our Stories. Our Health., she said through "house parties, roundtable discussions, and conversations" the group will "organize and mobilize our voices and our votes to fulfill the promise of health and healthcare for all of us." And from there, the group will push for progressive solutions.

The move comes just over a year after Murphy lost the 2018 DFL gubernatorial primary contest to Tim Walz. Murphy was endorsed by the party for the position and had previously served as a state lawmaker and majority leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She also represented the Minnesota Nurses Association as the group's executive director.

In a news release, Murphy said her mother had a hard time getting insurance companies to cover her care after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And in sharing her story with others, other Minnesotans shared their own health care stories.

Minnesota teen who died in car crash named homecoming queen

ULEN, Minn. (FNS) — Alivia Mortenson, the 17-year-old girl who died in a car accident in June, has been named the homecoming queen for Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal.

Mortenson died on Sunday, June 2, after her car went off the road and landed upside down in a slough near Hitterdal.

A tweet posted by the school on Monday, Sept. 9, says Alivia was picked as queen along with King Treyton Klemetson.

According to school principal Kent Henrickson, Alivia was voted in as a candidate last spring because their homecoming was so early.

He says the family was asked if they would want to accept the crown on her behalf, and Alivia's mother and her two sisters accepted it at Monday night's coronation.

"We feel it was a very nice gesture on our students' part to want to remember Alivia and to include the family in the homecoming coronation," Henrickson said.

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