701 Rundown: May 22, 2023
May 22, 2023
Here’s your weekly rundown of some of the most interesting headlines from newspapers across North Dakota.
Tribe plans to tear down dome, build new structures
The beginning of two building projects along with a basketball tournament featuring teams from across the state and nation are in store for Turtle Mountain this summer.
First, Tribal Chairman Jamie Azure said construction of a new wrestling complex will go up directly east of the current fitness center in Belcourt, N.D.
It will serve as a headquarters for wrestling training and practices for both the boys’ and girls’ teams.
Additionally, Azure said the Byron Dorgan Dome on the city’s northern edge will be no more. In its place, the tribal government will construct a building which will serve the same purpose as the dome.
Azure said the dome is beloved by many, but the operational costs were becoming too expensive. The structure is heated with propane, which essentially keeps the bright white roof inflated.
“With propane costs, it’s been costing $1 million to $1.5 million a year to keep it up,” said Azure.
Another major project slated for this summer is the inaugural Hoop Dancer Classic Basketball Tournament, which will take place in July. Azure said the competition will become an annual tradition bringing some of the best talent in the state and nation to the area.
(Story by Jason Nordmark, Turtle Mountain Star)
Thompson case to continue
Approximately 60 people who were present in support of Chris Thompson on Friday, May 5, at the Walsh County Courthouse in Grafton went home disappointed as his case was continued by Northeast District Judge Kari Agotness.
Thompson, 46, of Grafton was charged with vehicular manslaughter as a result of a traffic accident that occurred on Nov. 12 last year, which resulted in the death of Jason Schatzke.
Thompson was a duly elected Walsh County commissioner at the time, and admitted to law enforcement that he’d had 5 or 6 drinks that night.
On May 5, Thompson planned to enter an Alford plea and then have his defense attorney, Mark Friese, enter a plea agreement that he and prosecuting attorney Carmell Mattison worked out.
The plea agreement would reduce the Class A felony charge to a Class A misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.
However, because the prosecution had not filed a brief explaining their reason for the plea agreement, Judge Agotness did not allow the hearing to go much further. Instead, she gave the prosecution 14 days to write the brief, and the defense five days to file their response.
“Part of my obligation as a district court judge is to look at reasons why agreements are proposed to the court whether or not that administration of justice is something that court should take on, and without a written motion from the state and a response from Mr. Thompson, the court isn’t in a position to move on,” explained Agotness.
(Story by Todd Morgan, The Walsh County Record)
New details in death of Brianne Anderson
More details are surfacing in the shooting death of 32-year-old Brianne Anderson.
Anderson was shot at a residence in Watford City at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, and passed away the next morning at the hospital in Minot. As of May 5, no charges had been filed regarding the incident.
The McKenzie County Farmer spoke with Watford City Assistant Police Chief, Korey Lass, who outlined the investigation that has taken place over the last six weeks.
“Several items of evidence are still being tested at crime laboratories," said Lass. “Our investigation has been provided to the McKenzie County State’s Attorney (MCSA) for review of charges.
“It’s what we call a long-form request, so they are considering what charges fit, what other items need to be tested, that type of thing. So we’re at more of the ending of it, but it’s still pretty sensitive as far as what we can release and what we can say.”
Lass said the whole process could take up to six months.
Lass also declines to say if there was anything he could share from the autopsy results or the test results.
He did, however, confirm that the ongoing investigation is centered around one individual who lives in the community. He did not release the name of the suspect.
(Story by Steve Hallstrom, McKenzie County Farmer)
Linton Council denies request to raise chickens in town
At their regular meeting on May 1, the Linton City Council denied a request for a variance in the city ordinance to allow chickens to be housed on property within city limits.
Chris and Nicole Vargas, who reside on the north edge of Northwest First Street in Linton, submitted a written request to the city asking for the variance.
In the letter, Vargas stated that he was looking at the possibility of erecting and maintaining a chicken coop and an enclosed run along the south side of his property.
Vargas also stated that he wanted to be self-sufficient, providing meat and eggs for his family while reducing the garbage food waste to the city. He also wanted to utilize the chickens as natural composters.
Linton Mayor Dan Imdieke and Alderman Randy Meidinger spoke in opposition to the variance.
“I am not completely opposed to this idea, based on where the property is located, but I would hate to start a precedence where we have chickens or other farm animals in the middle of town,” said Imdieke.
“I am sure (Vargas) has good intentions and would keep up with maintenance, but what about the next person? I just feel it is something (council) shouldn’t allow.”
After further discussion, Meidinger made a motion to deny the request for a variance, and Alderman Dennis Morris seconded the motion.
The motion carried 4-1, with Council President Wayne Ehley voting against it.
(Story by Mark Weber, Linton County Record)