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North Dakota corn and sugar beet production is expected to be down slightly this year, while the soybean crop is forecast to be up just a bit. The federal Agriculture Department's latest estimates put the state's sugar beet crop at 6.43 million tons, down just slightly from last year, and the corn crop at 426 million bushels, down 5 percent.
(AP) A 38-year-old woman is accused of setting a fire at a downtown Minneapolis store that caused more than $500,000 in damage. Lewonda Jones, of Brooklyn Center, was charged last week in Hennepin County with two counts of arson. Jones was found in Fargo, North Dakota, and is being held in the Cass County jail pending her return to Minnesota. A clothing rack at the Marshalls store on Nicollet Mall was set ablaze on July 15. The fire closed the outlet for nearly four weeks. Police say an employee discovered the fire and put it out. No one was hurt.
WASHBURN, N.D. (AP) - Authorities could decide as early as next week whether to file charges in an incident on a central North Dakota lake that killed a Des Lacs girl. Ten-year-old Haley Sundsbak died June 10 from injuries suffered the day before from a collision while she and another girl were on an inner tube being pulled by a boat on Strawberry Lake. The other girl was hospitalized in critical condition but survived.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Federal authorities have charged a third person in connection to a drug overdose death in Grand Forks. Joshua Soeby is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years Soeby's wife, Holly Soeby, and her sister, Kelly Jo Nelsrud, are facing the same charges.
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting two boys in North Dakota in the 1990s has pleaded guilty to two counts of felony gross sexual imposition. Court documents show that Fernando Sayasaya entered the pleas Thursday during a scheduling conference. He's accused of abusing two underage siblings from 1995 to 1998, while he was assigned to the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and St. Mary's Cathedral in the Fargo area. Sayasaya was returned to the United States in December from the Philippines, where he had been since 1998.
A suburban Detroit police department is giving another cat a chance to take the law into her own paws. A cat named "Pawfficer Donut" was sworn in Friday by a judge, a day after a cat named Badges was removed from the Troy Police Department due to a serious illness. Donut will be used for therapeutic purposes and public appearances. Troy police say Badges will always be considered the department's first "pawfficer."
The smell of two dozen cupcakes in a baker's car was too much for a black bear in New Jersey. The bruin smashed a window and left only smeared icing and a paw print behind. Christine Allen tells The Record the bear ate every single chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cupcake that she had made for a large order. Awaken by the dog barking and a "crunch sound," her husband spotted the bear early Thursday.
SALEM, ORE (AP) - Jurors have convicted a former North Dakota college student in the killing of a drug dealer's father in Salem, Oregon. The Statesman Journal reports 24-year-old Denzel Hawthorne was found guilty of murder, but not guilty of aggravated murder on Monday. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 16.
HOUSTON (AP) - A family spokesman says former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won't seek additional medical treatment. Jim McGrath issued a news release Sunday saying that following a recent series of hospitalizations and after consulting with her family and doctors, the 92-year-old former first lady has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care. He did not elaborate as to the nature of Bush's health problems.
COLD SPRING, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota school superintendent accused of publicly exposing himself 16 times since November has resigned. Rocori District School Board chair Kara Habben says Scott Staska submitted his letter of resignation dated March 30 and the board unanimously accepted it Tuesday.