Local Man Going To Prison For Arsdon

A prison term of just under five years has been handed down to a Bemidji man convicted of arson. Damian Smith pleaded guilty to burning down a house on Sunset Way back in January,because he had a verbal disagreement with the homeowner.

Bemidji Fire Risk Is High

Fire officials say fire risk is very high in Bemidji and Beltrami County . The fire department says dead grass, leaves and wood debris are drying out, creating ideal conditions for fires to start and spread.

Representative Stages Sit-In

A 24 hour sit-in on the floor of the Minnesota house ended Wednesday, with State Representative Erin Maye Quade calling for action on anti-gun-violence measures

Lawmaker Ends Sit-In At Minnesota House

A state lawmaker ended a 24 hour sit-in on the floor of the Minnesota House on Wednesday. Representative Maye Quade demanded that Republicans move forward with anti-gun- violence measures, including universal background checks.

Republican leaders said the legislature will pass measures that everyone can agree on.

ATV Falls Through Ice On Lake

An all terrain vehicle fell through the ice on Lake Bemidji Wednesday morning. The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office says there’s still about 30 inches of ice on parts of the lake. However, the thickness is inconsistent. The ATV went through the ice just offshore from Cameron Park. No one was hurt, and they were able to pull it to shore.

Class Action Suit Filed Against Capella

Two former students are accusing Capella University of lying about how much time and money it would take to complete an advanced degree. Carolyn Wright of Kansas, and Debbra Kennedy of Tennessee, have filed a class-cation lawsuit in federal court over the issue. Wright began pursuing a degree in doctor of nursing practice, and was told it would take two years and cost about $35,000. Wright said she earned top grades and paid $53,000 before the online school assigned her a new instructor who said she’d “have to start all over.” She tried to fight it but finally left for another school. Kennedy entered a program advertised to take three years. The complaint alleges Capella later said the program actually takes 45 months. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education logged 71 complaints from Capella students from 2013-16. All other schools generated 146 complaints.

Two Area Students Honored. Will Get Scholarships!

Two area students were among the 44 students honored by National Joint Powers Alliance at its 27th annual Student Recognition Banquet recently at Madden’s Resort in Brainerd. Cass Lake-Bena [BEE-na] School’s Jennalee Fairbanks and Mark Reyes, were selected by school staff as the unsung heroes of their district… being referred to as behind the scenes students with little if any recognition for their accomplishments. The two were called rising stars. Fairbanks gets a $500 scholorship… Reyes gets a$215 scholarship.

Porn Man Of Ironton Found Guilty

A man from Ironton has been found guilty of charges connected to child pornography. 53 year old
Roger Splettstoeszer was facing four counts of distribution of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. A federal jury in Minneapolis found him guilty last Thursday on all counts. Splettstoeszer owned a computer repair business known as Deepsystems in Aitkin, where prosecutors said he used the internet to search for, receive and distribute images and videos of child pornography. A forensic review of his computers, turned up more than 35,000 photos and 400 videos of child pornography. No word on when he will be sentenced.

Downey Drops Out

Former state representative and former Minnesota GOP chairman Keith Downey has dropped out of the race for governor, saying the opportunity to win in November has closed. Downey placed a distant third in the Republican straw poll at February’s precinct caucuses. The G-O-P front runner, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, now faces a serious challenge from former Governor Tim Pawlenty, who jumped into the race late — but with a sizeable war chest.

Fiery Fatal Crash

A 53 year old Walhalla man… whose name has not yet been released until his family is notified… was killed in a fiery single-vehicle crash Wednesday in North Dakota. Police there say the man failed to negotiate a curve, and lost control of his pickup truck, drove in the ditch and was ejected when the vehicle overturned, and landed in a ditch. It then caught fire. The man was taken to a hospital in Cavalier, N.D., where he died. The investigation into that deadly crash continues today.