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Red River beet harvest could be largest on record

Plus: Fillmore County man threatens kids who TP-ed house; 61 pounds of pot in Dennison; Moorhead teen charged with murder; and more. 

The just-finished sugar beet harvest in the Red River Valley will be one of the largest ever. Mikkel Pates of the Fargo Forum writes that American Crystal Sugar Co. in Moorhead reports the beet yield is estimated at 27.7 tons per acre, which is greater than the record yield of 27.1 tons in the 2012 crop. This year’s crop is based on 397,500 acres, although the final acreage won’t be known until the end of harvest. So far, the crop has a healthy 17.8 percent sugar content, which is “almost exactly what we’re targeting for the year,” said Brian Ingulsrud, vice president for agriculture at Crystal.

A Fillmore County man was so ticked off at two kids who started to toilet-paper his house last month that he threatened to shoot them. At least that’s what the criminal complaint says, according to the Winona Daily News. According to the complaint, Ryan Hinze, 36, saw a teenage boy and girl throwing toilet paper in his yard in Spring Valley on Sept. 24. He told them to leave. They stopped about three houses down. Hinze came back outside with what the teens thought was a gun, and said “Who’s first?”, and the girl thought she heard Hinze cock the gun, according to the complaint. When asked by deputies if he had threatened to shoot the teens, Hinze said yes, according to the complaint.

A search warrant turned up more than 61 pounds of marijuana, firearms and cocaine at a Dennison residence and shed. Brad Phenow of the Faribault Daily News writes that Scott Allen Wells, 56, of Dennison, faces up to 30 years in prison. On a tip, the Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force went to Wells’ house in Dennison. Agents obtained a search warrant and found 61 pounds of marijuana in unprocessed plants and in baggies as well as a vial of white powder that field tested for cocaine. They also found a loaded Master Mag 410 rifle in the kitchen and two 12-gauge shotguns, a 16-gauge shotgun, a rifle and a .22 in the upstairs bedroom. They also found a methamphetamine smoking pipe and a pill bottle containing three tablets identified as acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Wells told police he rents the shed to people who store dried marijuana and that the only pot on the premises that was his was one pound. He added that the vial of cocaine was left at his house six years ago and the loaded gun in the kitchen was for “critters” and not for his protection. Bail was set at $10,000.

Zachary Daniel St. Claire, 16, of Moorhead, has been charged with killing the man he says has been molesting him for three to four years. Emily Welker of the Fargo Forum writes that Clay County prosecutors allege St. Claire planned to kill Brad Carrington, 55.  St. Claire told police that after he had been drinking with Carrington at the victim’ northside trailer Saturday, he hit and kicked Carrington in the head until he was dead, then fled to his mother’s house, washed his clothes and threw his shoes in the river. Police are also searching for a second suspect, Anthony Lee Rodriguez.

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A 117-year-old clock is closer to regaining its spot on top of Rochester’s downtown Fire Hall No. 1, writes Andrew Setterholm of the Rochester Post-Bulletin. “The Central Fire Station clock and bell was installed on the south side of Fourth Street and South Broadway Avenue in 1898. The Seth Thomas clock was a primary timepiece for the city, and the 1,200-pound bell sounded the alarm for firefighters. The clock and bell were most recently located in a tower outside the Mayo Civic Center. They were moved when an expansion project at the civic center began earlier this year.” Restoration will cost roughly $300,000 in public and private funds, spearheaded by the Rochester Area Foundation. A private donor has offered to match dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000 in private gifts.

Chelsey Perkins at the Brained Dispatch reports that two men were arrested at a Breezy Point area hotel for soliciting prostitution. The operation was conducted Tuesday, Oct. 13, and involved a fictional advertisement for escort services in an online classified advertising website. This is the fourth sex trafficking operation conducted by area law enforcement in Crow Wing County since May, and the first outside of Baxter. The two men arrested in the latest sting join 14 others charged in the other three operations.

Joshua Marceau, a 31-year-old doctoral candidate in biomedical sciences, spoke to students at Leech Lake Tribal College and at Bemidji State University on Monday about the unique challenges of going from a tribal college to getting a PhD. Crystal Dey of the Bemidji Pioneer  wrote that organizers used the talk to launch the North Star STEM Alliance to supports minority students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees and occupations. Marceau grew up on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana and got his high school diploma through a GED. He attended Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Mont., where he worked as a garbage man to pay his bills. He then left for Penn State, where he received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 2009. He’s now attending the University of Montana in Missoula where he is working on his doctorate in biomedical sciences and researching filovirus (the Ebola virus), hantavirus and vesicular stomatitis virus for his final project. The historical smallpox assault on Native Americans is something he considers when working on a vaccine using vesicular stomatitis virus as a platform. He helped develop a Molecular Biology and Biophysics Research Lab at Salish Kootenai College, done field research in hot springs at Yellowstone National Park and has done work for NASA. He’s also an accomplished silversmith.