Forum News Service
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HALSTAD, Minn. – Sexual assault charges against the mayor here have been dropped after the alleged victim’s credibility was called into question. In May, Mayor Steve Sortland was accused of raping a female acquaintance, and he was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
DULUTH -- The condition of a University of Minnesota Duluth student found unconscious in subzero cold Dec. 7 has been upgraded from critical to fair, hospital officials confirmed Tuesday. Alyssa Jo Lommel had been listed in critical condition Saturday. The UMD student was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul after being diagnosed with hypothermia and severe frostbite. Meanwhile, family members continued to report signs of progress on Lommel’s CaringBridge page. She is breathing without the aid of a ventilator and was being weaned off heavy medications.
Ambulance shops in Park Rapids and Walker voted overwhelmingly last week to unionize. They are part of the North Memorial Health Care System, based in Robbinsdale. Ambulance personnel claimed they receive the lowest pay in the region, so it’s hard to recruit new help. They also complained of driving 20-hour shifts and having to cede lucrative medical transfers to rival companies because they were so short-staffed. The company has declined to comment and said the concerns are those of disgruntled workers. Seventy-five percent of the eligible workers voted to unionize.
Minnesotans buying health insurance online through the state’s new website will now have more time to do so. New MNsure Chief Executive Officer Scott Leitz said Friday that the new deadline will be Dec. 31, which will give insurance buyers a chance to get policies the day before they become effective. Monday was the old deadline, but numerous issues with the MNsure computer system and the agency’s call center have made it difficult for customers to buy insurance that would take effect on Jan.
The Wadena County Sheriff's Office received a report of a structure fire at Olson's Custom Farm Services in Sebeka early Dec.11. Within minutes, police and firefighters arrived on scene to find the main building was fully engulfed with flames. Fire departments from Sebeka, Menahga, Wadena and Wolf Lake battled the fire for hours to contain it. The building sustained substantial damage as a result of the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Wadena County Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshal's Office. No foul play is suspected.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – WE Fest announced three acts to its 2014 lineup. Travis Tritt, Randy Houser and Thompson Square have been added to the Aug. 7, 8 and 9 country festival. These acts join headliners Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley and Zac Brown Band for the annual concert just outside of Detroit Lakes, Minn. Also appearing will be Florida Georgia Line, The Band Perry and Brantley Gilbert. For ticket information, go to www.wefest.com .
ST. PAUL – A Costa Rican vacation gave MNsure’s executive director a permanent break from her job. April Todd-Malmlov handed her resignation to the MNsure board Tuesday night after publicity about the trip she and another state official took before Thanksgiving. The trip came at a time when her agency was entering the final few weeks that Minnesotans could buy health insurance so it is effective Jan. 1. The vacation was just one of several problems Todd-Malmlov faced in recent weeks. MNsure computer problems since the program launched Oct.
PERHAM, Minn. - Every year, Bridgette Thiesen and her family engage in a friendly competition to see who can find the perfect Christmas tree.
FARGO – Two local police agencies are investigating a Valley News Live reporter after the television station aired a hidden camera report on Wednesday night showing her walking inside three area elementary schools without anyone stopping her. The story, meant to reveal holes in school security, has received scrutiny from police and school officials who say the reporter broke city and state laws by entering the schools without permission. Moorhead and West Fargo police say they are investigating the matter. It is unclear whether the reporter will face charges. Moorhead Lt.