By: News Director Larissa Donovan
Writer’s Note: This is my last posting as News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting. Thank you for viewing, it has been a pleasure and an honor to bring you the news.
BEMIDJI– A Bemidji man was convicted of arson Friday. Court records show that 21-year-old Damian Patrick Joseph Smith pleaded guilty to first degree arson in mid-March, and was sentenced to 57 months in a state prison. According to the criminal complaint, Smith was an acquaintance of the homeowners’ grandson and had come seeking shelter on the evening of January 1. Smith told investigators that he intentionally set some curtains on fire because he was insulted by a comment made by one of the homeowners. No one was hurt in the fire. Smith received credit for 110 days served in the county jail.
BEMIDJI– The Bemidji Fire Department reports an eventful first quarter of 2018. According to an update posted in the City’s weekly newsletter, the department made 235 emergency responses, which include alarm activations, vehicle crashes, and life threatening emergency medical responses. The fire department responded to 30 fires in the first quarter, which include 17 building fires, and report an estimated $460,250 in fire-caused property damage.
BEMIDJI– A fugitive was finally captured last week in Beltrami County. Derek Jon Paddy was wanted by the FBI for a series of violent crimes on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Paddy is currently in the Beltrami County Jail on two warrants. Law enforcement had been on the lookout for Paddy since November.
DETROIT LAKES– Two died in a single-vehicle crash in Becker County Friday. According to a release, the crash occurred around 2 a-m Friday on County Highway 35, west of Ice Cracking Lodge. The two pronounced dead at the scene were 56-year-old Philip Warren of Mahnomen and 55-year-old Lorraine Warren of Ponsford. Forty-four-year-old Cynthia Jones of Mahnomen was transported to a Detroit Lakes hospital by ambulance and 32-year-old Robert Warren was airlifted to Fargo. The extent of their injuries are not yet known. The Becker County Sheriff’s Office says the crash is still under investigation.
WARREN– The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating vandalism by means of a firearm. According to a release, residents in Northern Polk County reported numerous vehicles hit with what appears to be firearm rounds, along with a dog that was shot and killed. Anyone in the area that finds similar damage on their property is encouraged to report it along with any suspicious activity to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
WASHINGTON– Minnesota will receive over $5-million in federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic. According to a release from U. S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the state will receive State Targeted Response Grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. The grants were established through the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill Klobuchar reportedly supported.
BEMIDJI– Retired Minnesota state legislator and construction executive Jerry Bauerly will deliver the 2018 Commencement address for Northwest Technical College. Bauerly will address graduates at the college’s annual commencement exercise, set for May 4 in Bemidji’s Sanford Center. NTC commencement begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public free of charge.
APPLE VALLEY– Several area students took home awards from the Class A State Speech tournament in Apple Valley. Ellie Hason and Emma Burpo of Walker were the champions in the Duo category. Samantha Nupson of Cass Lake and Hannah Wohlstorf of Laporte placed third in their categories. Willow Demor of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley placed 7th, Logan Patch of Blackduck placed 6th, Amber Schroeder of Park Rapids placed 2nd, Anne Howard of Blackduck placed 8th, Clair Nelson of Fosston/Bagley placed 3rd and Emily Kjenaas of Park Rapids placed 4th.