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BISMARCK— The North Dakota Department of Health is reporting widespread influenza activity in the state for the first time this flu season. The department said Friday, Feb. 1, it isn't too late to get the flu shot, and anyone 6 months or older should be vaccinated. In North Dakota, 1,810 laboratory-identified cases of influenza have been reported this season to the health department, with most of them being children under the age of 10. Last season, one of the worst in the past 20 years in the state, there were 8,498 reported cases of the flu.
FARGO — Fargo police have released the identity of an elderly woman who was found dead in a car in a grocery store parking lot on Wednesday, Jan. 30, as 65-year-old Barbara Anne Barry. Police believe Barry was homeless and had been deceased in the car for a few months. They do not suspect foul play. She was not reported as a missing person, police said.
HUDSON, Wis. - A 51-year-old man charged in November with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and maintaining a drug trafficking place after authorities seized more than 280 pounds of pot from two Baldwin-area properties, pleaded not guilty to both charges last week. Pheng Lee posted $35,000 cash bond last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court, according to court records.
MAYVILLE, N.D. — Mayville State head football coach Sean Thom has resigned to pursue other opportunities, the school said in a news release Monday, Jan. 28. Thom became the Comets’ head coach in December 2016. His last day will be Feb. 1. “I thank the players for the blood, sweat and tears that they put into this football program,” Thom said in a release. “This business is all about relationships, and I feel like the young men who have served on this team will forever be in my DNA.”
SUPERIOR, Wis.. -- The Douglas County District Attorney’s Office won’t be filing charges anytime soon against Jake Patterson. Patterson stands accused of abducting teenager Jayme Closs from her home in Barron, murdering her parents and hiding her in a cabin in Douglas County until she managed to escape earlier this month. Patterson, 21, of Gordon already faces two counts of first-degree homicide, armed burglary and kidnapping out of Barron County and is currently being held at the Polk County (Wis.) jail on $5 million bail.
BISMARCK -- Two separate staff assault incidents at the North Dakota State Penitentiary has led to the compound being put on lockdown Friday, Jan. 25, according to a release by the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The release says the two assaults led to seven employees being seen by a doctor and treated for injuries. The incidents are still under investigation. No in-person or video visitations will be allowed during the lockdown, which will be reassessed Monday, Jan. 28.
MITCHELL, S.D. — A Mitchell man was arrested Sunday, Jan. 20, for allegedly tying up a woman and threatening her with a knife and a gun. The incident reportedly began when 23-year-old Jose Ortiz Rodriguez and the woman had a verbal argument while shopping on Sunday, and the two got into a vehicle and continued the argument in a parking lot.
GRAND FORKS — Two people are in custody after authorities arrested them for possession of meth, according to a release by the Grand Forks Police Department. The release states that on Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force served a search warrant at 2116 1st Ave. N., in Grand Forks. During the search, Brian Jones, 40, and Nakia Jones, 31, were taken into custody. They are facing charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and felon in possession of a firearm.
FARGO -- Bell Bank has announced its intent to purchase Warner and Company Insurance, a full-service insurance agency founded in Fargo more than 100 years ago. Under the purchase agreement signed Wednesday, Jan. 24, Bell will purchase Warner and Company Insurance, as well as two of Warner and Company's other full-service agencies: Schiller Insurance in Detroit Lakes and Thompson-Schaefer Insurance Agency in Grand Forks. Together, the three agencies have 30 employees.
SALEM, S.D. — Authorities on Tuesday identified a Salem woman as the person who died in a tractor-van crash about 35 miles east of Mitchell on Jan. 16. Helene Eichacker, 85, was the passenger in a 2013 Chrysler Town and Country that crashed into a 1998 John Deere tractor on S.D. Highway 38, about one mile west of Salem. She was airlifted to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls and died Thursday as a result of her injuries.