Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.
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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — The superintendent of the Hawley School District has been charged with two misdemeanors after a vehicle went through the ice on Otter Tail Lake last month and concerns arose that another man would be arrested for drunken driving. Superintendent Philip Leroy Jensen, 56, of Ottertail, Minn., faces two counts of obstructing the legal process. Facing the same charges in the incident are Michelle Renae Jensen, 51, of Ottertail, and Zachary Anthony Jensen, 32, of Fargo.
MOORHEAD, Minn.—The woman accused of trying to shoot a Minnesota State Patrol trooper in the head after he stopped to help her and a companion at the scene of a crash just east of Moorhead, Minn., made her first appearance in Clay County District Court on Friday, March 9. Melody Gray, who was wounded by a round from the trooper's weapon, appeared before Judge Peter Irvine with her right forearm heavily bandaged and supported by a black sling.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — A woman accused of trying to shoot a Minnesota State Patrol trooper in the head near Moorhead faces felony charges of attempted murder, receiving stolen property and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a Clay County District Court filing made Thursday, March 8. Melody Victoria Gray, 30, of Milwaukee, Wis., who was shot in the arm by Trooper Mark Peterson during the incident Monday, March 5, was hospitalized at Essentia Health in Fargo for treatment of her wound. Clay County Jail staff said Gray was still at Essentia Thursday afternoon.
The Rev. Robert Wapenski was beaten on the face, head and back, and speaker wire was used by his alleged assailant in an attempt to choke him to death, according to an affidavit released as part of documents unsealed Friday, Feb. 9. Chad Vincent Legare, the Alexandria man facing charges in the attack on Wapenski, is alleged to have hidden himself in an office in the rectory in Anamoose, N.D., where Wapenski worked as pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church, according to the affidavit by Special Agent Craig Zachmeier of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
ANAMOOSE, N.D. — The Rev. Robert Wapenski was beaten on the face, head and back, and speaker wire was used by his alleged assailant in an attempt to choke him to death, according to an affidavit released as part of McHenry County District Court documents unsealed in the case Friday, Feb. 9.
AITKIN, Minn. — A Hastings, Minn., man has pleaded guilty to a felony charge in a case involving a 2016 hit-and-run that caused the death of a 10-year-old girl, according to an Aitkin County Attorney's Office spokeswoman. Steven L. Meier, 45, changed his plea on a charge of criminal vehicular homicide for leaving the scene of an accident during a hearing Thursday, Feb. 1, in Aitkin County District Court. His sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. March 23.
A man held on suspicion of murdering two elderly rural Mahnomen County, Minn., residents is being described as generous and trusted by others at a center for chemically dependent people where he lived. Timothy James Thorson, 53, is being held in the Benton County Jail, booked at 5:09 a.m.