Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or email@example.com
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BEMIDJI, Minn.—A former Bemidji State University employee was charged with a felony Tuesday after he allegedly used his university-issued credit card to make personal purchases. Former Physical Plant Manager Jeffrey Arne Sande, 66, was charged with financial transaction card fraud, nine months after authorities confiscated multiple big-ticket items—including lawn mowers, a trimmer and other equipment—from his Bemidji home.
ECKLES TOWNSHIP, Minn.—Two men were charged with assault Monday after allegedly shooting a man at the Elpine Village Mobile Home Park on Friday, May 4. Luiz Javier Solis Delarosa, 23, of Walker, and David James Cook, Jr., 21, of Red Lake, are both charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon causing substantial bodily harm, according to court documents. Delarosa also is charged with the intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers another.
BEMIDJI—The Beltrami County Jail violated state rules regarding inmate checks in the 2017 death of a woman in custody, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Stephanie Bunker, 39, of Naytahwaush, was found hanging in her cell at the jail on July 1 and later died at a hospital on July 11.
BAGLEY, Minn.—The Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by state prosecutors Monday, April 23, paving the way for four anti-pipeline activists to argue during trial that they had no choice but to disrupt a pipeline transporting tar sands oil. The appellate court said the four from out-of-state can use the threat of climate change as a defense for their actions.
ST. PAUL—As the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission prepares to vote this June on Enbridge Energy Co.'s controversial Line 3 replacement project, Northland lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would crack down on those who train or recruit protesters who damage "critical infrastructure" such as oil pipelines. However, those against the law fear that it would intimidate would-be activists and squash peaceful protests.
RED LAKE, Minn.—The Red Lake Tribal Council voted Tuesday, March 13, to remove Enbridge-owned oil pipelines from its land. The unanimous vote came two months after the council agreed to rescind a resolution accepting a land swap agreement with the Canadian energy company. That Jan. 9 vote paved the way for Tuesday's action, according to Red Lake Representative Robert Smith.
PONEMAH—Red Lake police are asking for help finding a woman missing since Jan. 28. Amy Dow, 27, was last seen leaving her house in Ponemah more than three weeks ago, her mother said. Dow usually talks to her mother, Chele Kalstabakken, via text message and Facebook Messenger, but has not had contact with her family since she was last seen. Dow's phone is also turned off and she has made no posts on social media, her mother said.
BEMIDJI—An emotional and largely symbolic sentencing hearing brought legal proceedings against Brandon Bjerknes to a close Thursday, Feb. 8. Even Ninth District Judge Paul Benshoof described his sentence as "moot" during the hearing, shortly before sentencing Bjerknes—the former Bemidji Middle School assistant principal who posed as a teenager online in order to have sexual conversations with children—to a total of seven years and six months in prison.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—A Bemidji man who sexually assaulted a vulnerable adult while he was employed at an area REM home was sentenced to 180 days in jail Monday, Jan. 29. Anthony Leonard Granger, 53, also received a stayed sentence of four years in prison. He will not have to spend any time in prison as long as he complies with the conditions of his probation for the next 15 years.
WALKER, Minn.—A Cass Lake, Minn., woman police say was present for the shooting death of Brandi Shank—also known as Brandi Strong—was charged Friday, Jan. 26, with two counts of aiding another who they say committed second-degree unintentional murder. A criminal complaint filed Friday accused Sara Renae LaRose, 41, of giving investigators "false or misleading" information about the November shooting. Brandon Joseph Roy, 24, of Cass Lake, was charged in November with second-degree unintentional murder in Shank's death.