Your Monday News Brief: March 12

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

BEMIDJI– The Bemidji Police Department says rumors about a school shooting circulating online are old, and that there is no threat to public safety at this time. According to a social media post from the department, the rumors were investigated, and extra patrols will be in place in area schools. Anyone with new or credible information is encouraged to contact the Bemidji Police Department.


FROHN TOWNSHIP– The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible heroin overdose after responding to a residence in Frohn Township early Friday morning. Deputies were called to the scene after a report of an unresponsive male around 4 a-m. After unsuccessful life saving efforts were exhausted, the male, 21-year-old Jordan L. Smith of Cass Lake was pronounced dead. An autopsy will be complete once toxicology reports are in, and the sheriff’s office is investigating.


HUBBARD COUNTY– One man was injured after an alcohol-related crash in Hubbard County Sunday. Authorities say the driver, 35-year-old Scott Nicholas Lukken of Bemidji, was northbound on Highway 71 when he crossed over the centerline and crashed into the west ditch. Lukken was transported to the Sanford Hospital by the Bemidji Ambulance Service with a suspected head injury. Alcohol is a suspected factor in the crash, according to the state patrol.


EVELETH– The Bemidji High School Speech Team placed first out of twenty teams at the Eveleth-Gilbert Speech Meet last Saturday. Mitchell Shaw was champion in both Prose and Humor categories, Jordan Mann won first in Storytelling and Alyssa Mess placed first in the Informative category. Top three medalists included Kitara Quick in Discussion, Jarrett Hastig in Extemp Speaking, Elizabeth Rafferty in Extemp Reading, Xavier Michael-Young in Informative, and Kayleigh Hickman in Humor. Bemidji will split the team this week, with several competing in the MSDA National Qualifier in Brainerd, while the rest will compete in Fosston.


BEMIDJI– Two tours of the Gene Dillon School are scheduled for this week. According to an update from Bemidji Area Schools, the tours will take place this Thursday and Friday at 3:45 p-m each day. The guided tour groups will meet at the Construction Management Office inside the fence.


ST. PAUL– The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is concerned about a significant rise in the number of drivers distracted by their cell phones.  A new report shows there were 7,357 citations for texting while driving in 2017 — a 23-percent increase from 2016.  State Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson says it’s a selfish decision when a driver chooses to put a cell phone above the safety and well being of those sharing the roads with them.  State officials say distracted driving contributes to one in four crashes in Minnesota and an average of 59 deaths and 223 serious injuries per year.


MAHNOMEN– The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’s Executive Committee is censuring White Earth Secretary-Treasurer Tara Mason and exonerating White Earth Tribal Chairman Terry Tibbetts. The 12-member council voted Thursday at a hearing at the Shooting Star Event Center in Mahnomen in front of several hundred tribal members. Tibbetts was accused of obtaining $63,000 in severance pay when he was voted off the Tribal Council as a district representative. The committee voted eight-to-one to exonerate him. Mason was accused of wrongly running a non-profit micro loan program operated out of the tribe’s finance office. The council voted five-to-four with one abstention to censure her.

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