Nathan Bowe / Forum News Service
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - The First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes has started the process of replacing Pastor John Simonson and his wife, Rachel, also a pastor at First Lutheran, following his resignation after criminal charges were filed against him. John Simonson joined First Lutheran in Detroit Lakes as an associate pastor in 2015, after three years at his first ministry in Killdeer, N.D. He resigned from First Lutheran in late March.
WHITE EARTH, Minn. — The K-12 Circle of Life Academy in White Earth faces unverified test scores and a $1.1 million budget deficit that could have forced the school to close if not for a $1.3 million cash infusion from the tribal general fund, according to a news release from the White Earth Tribal Council. Interim Circle of Life Academy Superintendent Jenna Leadbetter informed the Tribal Council about the problems at the school. Brent Gish, who has extensive experience in Indian education, is helping Leadbetter sort through the school’s financial affairs.
WHITE EARTH, Minn. — A White Earth investigative entity is hoping the band can file an insurance claim to recover up to $1 million of the $5.8 million that band says was spent on the now-defunct Star Lake Casino project. The Other Government Project, an investigatory committee set up by the White Earth Tribal Council, recommended the possible insurance claim as part of a plan of action to be considered in regards to the Star Lake Casino project. In order to make the project a go, the tribal attorney earlier agreed to waive the tribe’s sovereign immunity from liability.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - The pastor of First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes has been accused of stealing liquor from the Detroit Lakes municipal liquor store and scratching a person's vehicle with a metal object after an altercation with a woman at the liquor store on Dec. 20. John Hastings Simonson, 38, of Detroit Lakes has been charged in Becker County District Court with gross misdemeanor third-degree criminal damage to property, and misdemeanor theft.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - A Fergus Falls man has pleaded guilty to shooting and killing a 35-year-old friend that was staying with him at his mother’s house in Audubon on Nov. 13. Michaelray Ericthomas Mason, 29, pleaded guilty Jan. 29 in Becker County District Court to felony second-degree murder - without intent.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - A Perham man accused of causing the death of an Anderson Bus driver in Frazee on Oct. 29 has pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal vehicular homicide. Richard Henry Fisette, 39, of Perham, will serve between 58 months and 68 months in state prison for causing the death of Marlin Roger Miller, 50, of Ponsford. Miller, a longtime driver for Anderson Bus, was sitting in his parked car in front of the bus company, listening to the early news on his car radio as was his habit.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - The Detroit Lakes police chief is serving a one-week suspension without pay following an internal investigation into the way he handled a controversial incident involving a youth last summer. Steven Todd began the suspension on Friday and will continue through Thursday, according to Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk. The patrol sergeants are handling police matters in his absence. On June 20, Todd mistakenly thought a 12-year-old boy was trying to steal his Trek mountain bike after it was knocked over at a baseball field and the boy tried to pick it up.
MAHNOMEN, Minn. -- An investigatory team recently briefed the White Earth Tribal Council on “potentially criminal concerns” in the operations of tribal government, with several points related to the now abandoned plans for the Star Lake casino. Several months ago, the White Earth Tribal Council launched the Other Governmental Project to investigate possible tribal government corruption and according to a news release from White Earth, the team presented its initial findings to the Tribal Council.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — A former worker at a Detroit Lakes group home has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for raping a woman resident with the mental capacity of a young child. Jallah Sallah Kollie, 39, of 219 Second Ave. W., West Fargo, was sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 12, in Becker County District Court on felony counts of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct-victim mentally impaired.
DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — A Detroit Lakes veteran is hopeful he may be allowed to stay in his rented home after all. Brian Fraser, 59, says he and his landlord, Laurel Carlson, have found several witnesses to help make their case that the house at 327 Elizabeth St. should be "grandfathered-in" because it was being used as a rental unit before a 1968 city zoning ordinance.