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A 44-year-old Deer River man died early Saturday morning when his motorcycle ran off the road in Cass County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol out of Brainerd, Dennis Johnson was declared dead at the scene after the Harley-Davidson he was driving went off the road and hit a road approach on Highway 6 eight miles north of Remer. Johnson was not wearing a helmet and alcohol was detected in his system, the State Patrol said. The crash was reported at 12:04 a.m. Saturday.
Supporters for a Bemidji skate park continue to raise funds for the project. Already promised $150,000 in sales-tax funds from the city of Bemidji, supporters are working toward their goal of meeting or beating that amount, according to volunteer Nate Dorr. The group has secured a $1,000 grant from Burton Snowboards through Youth Venture and $500 from Paul Bunyan Telephone. Most recently, a local doctor donated $599 toward the skate park, Dorr said. Supporters already have submitted grant requests to the Tony Hawk Foundation, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, First National Bank Foundati
Scott Thomas Crampton, 45, Bemidji, has been convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving the penetration of a victim younger than 16 years old, a serious felony. Crampton was sentenced to 144 months in prison and given credit for 502 days served. Restitution was reserved and he must pay a $50 fine. A girl reported in January 2007 that Crampton previously forced her, when she was 12 years old, to have sex with him on multiple occasions.
The Bemidji man suspected of calling in a fake bomb threat earlier this year has pleaded innocent. Randy John Stebe, 33, of Bemidji, pleaded innocent Monday and requested a jury trial for a felony charge of making terroristic threats involving an explosive or incendiary device. Stebe is suspected of calling North Country Regional Hospital at 11:21 a.m.
Gene Lovering, 52, of rural Bemidji, was reported missing Tuesday evening to the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office. His body was found about 1 p.m. Wednesday by sheriff's deputies on his property in the 15500 block of Werner Road Northwest, Sheriff Phil Hodapp said. "He was found deceased, and investigation into the facts of his death is still underway," said Hodapp. "An autopsy will be performed, and at this time law enforcement does not suspect found play."
Leo Robert Jones Jr., 21, of Cass Lake, was charged with felony second-degree arson Tuesday in Beltrami County District Court. Jones is accused of intentionally setting fire to a vacant residence on the 1300 block of Porcupine Road in Ten Lake Township. If convicted, Jones faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. According to the criminal complaint, a woman called Beltrami County Dispatch at 10:02 p.m. Saturday to report that a vacant house was on fire, and Jones was seen leaving the area of the burning house.
The four people vying for two seats on the Bemidji City Council attempted to connect with Bemidji State University students during a debate Tuesday night on campus. Ward one candidates Rachelle Houle and Kevin Waldhausen and ward three candidates Ron Johnson and Charles "Chuck" Stombaugh asked for students' votes as they stated their positions on the proposed Bemidji events center, downtown revitalization hopes and environmental concerns. The debate was held in Hagg-Sauer Hall and was attended by about 100 students.
Everything seemed to lead back to the events center for mayoral candidates Nancy Erickson and Richard Lehmann Tuesday night as they took part in a debate on the Bemidji State University campus. After the events center was brought up in answers to questions addressing the current economy and students' voting rights, moderator Dean Frost, a business professor, said he would address the "elephant standing in the middle of the room" and asked the candidates to discuss their positions on the events center. Erickson said the project carries too big a risk for taxpayers.
Two of the three candidates seeking the House 4A seat answered questions from Bemidji State University students Tuesday night. John Carlson, a Republican, and John Persell, DFL, presented their opinions on how to keep higher education affordable and attainable, K-12 funding and health care.
Richard Derek Wright, 41, of Belleville, Mich., has been indicted by a Hubbard County grand jury with six counts. Wright, the man accused of murdering Sonya Marie Hennagir of Park Rapids, faces two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, one count of first-degree witness tampering and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The first degree murder charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.