Football game postponed by possible MRSA outbreak: Richardton student diagnosed with staph infection; season opener between RTH and Hettinger-Scranton scrubbed

RICHARDTON — A possible outbreak of MRSA staph infection led to the postponement of the season-opening 9-man football game between Richardton-Taylor-Hebron and Hettinger-Scranton on Friday.

Richardton-Taylor High School Superintendent Brent Bautz said one student, a member of the football team, has a confi rmed case of MRSA — a bacterial skin infection — and that other students, including football players, complained of skin sores on Friday and were sent to health care facilities for treatment and testing.

However, their skin cultures won’t be available until Monday. Because of that, Bautz said it was only right to postpone the football game, which was scheduled for Friday night in Richardton.

“We want to be on the safe side,” Bautz said.

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Editorial: North Dakota governor’s race is going to be good

Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s announcement Monday morning that he won’t seek re-election in 2016 was shocking to many, including some members of his own party. But, unlike many states, it’s unlikely the governor’s decision is foreshadowing a vast political shakeup in North Dakota.
Instead, it’ll make for great debate into next year as to who is the best fit to replace him. The Republicans, led by Dalrymple, have an undeniably “deep bench,” as state Sen. Kelly Armstrong, the GOP chairman from Dickinson, told Forum News Service capitol reporter Mike Nowatzki on Monday.
Within minutes of Dalrymple’s announcement, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem were on Republican’s lips as his potential replacement. Even Fargo businessman Doug Burgum said he’s “open minded” about considering a run for the office, despite having no prior political experience. Heck, we’ve even had people ask if Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson would consider running.

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Editorial: Belfield street assessments should have been handled better

Belfield’s streets need to be fixed. There’s no doubt about that. Complaint after complaint is heaped on the city by both residents and visitors regarding the state of its streets, and clearly something must soon be done. A special assessment to property owners, offset by oil-impact “surge” funding dollars, is the most logical way to do this.

However, considering the individual price tag associated with these improvements, it’s safe to say Belfield leaders went about informing property owners the wrong way.

When your citizens stand to pay thousands of dollars in extra taxes over an undetermined length of time for a city infrastructure project, it’s best to involve them as much as possible — not to hold a couple meetings and then send them a bill eight months later.

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Billings County sheriffs continue search for fugitive

RURAL BILLINGS COUNTY — The Billings County Sheriff’s Department has identifi ed the alleged fugitive authorities are searching for throughout western North Dakota.

The search continued Friday for Jeff Robertson, who is suspected of rolling a stolen pickup truck off U.S. Highway 85 in northeast Billings County on Thursday and then fleeing the scene.

Billings County Sheriff Pat Rummel said they have identifi ed Robertson as the suspect, though his age and city of residence is unknown. He is described as being white, and around 6-foot, 180 pounds and is balding with sandy brown hair.

The Billings County Sheriff’s Department found an employee identification card in the pickup, which it used to confirm Robertson as the suspect who allegedly exited the pickup following the accident after interviews with witnesses.

Rummel said the department has found articles of clothing believed to belong to Robertson, who allegedly stole a 1996 blue Ford F-350 in Billings, Mont., and rolled it off the highway 12 miles north of Belfield.

 “We’re just trying to follow his trail to see where he went,” Rummel said.

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Authorities search for man in Billings County: Alleged car thief who fled scene of accident still on the loose

NEAR GORHAM — Several local law enforcement agencies, including the Southwest Tactical Team, spent all of Thursday afternoon and evening searching for a man who allegedly rolled a stolen pickup truck he was driving on Highway 85 about 12 miles north of Belfield and fl ed from the scene.

The man, who as of 9:30 p.m. still hadn’t been located, is described as being white, and around 6-foot, 180 pounds with sandy brown hair. According to a witness, he was last seen wearing a red-brown plaid shirt and had an arm injury likely caused by the rollover, Billings County Sheriff Pat Rummel said.

The 1996 blue Ford F-350 pickup, which had been reported stolen in Billings, Mont., came to a rest on its side in a ditch after the rollover. According to a witness, Rummel said, the man exited the vehicle and ran into a sunflower field west of the highway near milemarker 87.

Authorities are unsure if the man is armed, but said.22-caliber shells were found in the pickup. Because of this, authorities are asking the public not to approach anyone fitting his description and to instead call 911 immediately.
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Erratic weather brings ups, downs during harvest for area farmers

The only delay Lenci Sickler saw this week in his family’s spring wheat harvest was a combine that broke down Wednesday.

North of Dickinson, farmers like Sickler haven’t been affected much by the colder temperatures and rain showers that have hindered their counterparts south of town since Sunday.

“We’ve kind of been in a weird pocket here where we’re at,” Sickler said during a phone interview while driving a combine.

In rural Hettinger County between New England and Regent, Jon Stang hasn’t been so lucky.

“We’re shut down for the day,” Stang said.

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Sheriff denies ex-Trinity principal’s lawsuit allegations

BISMARCK — The final defendant in the former Trinity High School principal’s federal lawsuit against the city of Dickinson and three law enforcement officials denied allegations made against him on Monday.

Stark County Sheriff Terry Oestreich denied Thomas Sander’s allegations in a U.S. District Court complaint that he was subjected to intimidating interrogation while Oestreich was a detective with the Dickinson Police Department investigating the March 3, 2014, fire that destroyed parts of the school.

Sander claimed in a complaint, filed June 8, that he was “seized, confined, and subjected to unreasonable force, including coercive, threatening, and intimidating interrogation, by law enforcement officials,” including Oestreich, Detective Sgt. Kylan Klauzer and Detective Jeremy Moser, “until he falsely confessed to starting the fi re.”

Sander is suing the city of Dickinson, the three law enforcement officials and up to 10 unnamed “Doe” defendants for emotional and financial damages that allegedly occurred during his incarceration after he claimed that Klauzer and Oestreich coerced him into admitting that he started the Trinity fire during an interrogation March 4 and 5, 2014.
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