Top stories from the Lake Region from 2017

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Daniel TwoHearts, wanted for attempted murder after shooting at police during a chase that originated Thursday night near Grand Forks, shot himself in the Locke Block apartment building in downtown Devils Lake Friday night after police surrounded the building. TwoHearts was airlifted to Grand Forks with a “non-fatal” gunshot wound according to DLPD Capt. Jon Barnett.

Local media evaluated the year 2017 from our perspective and came up with a list of the top stories covered in the past 12 months.

That list in no particular order is included below:

1. The standoff in the Locke Block in downtown Devils Lake.

A man, Daniel TwoHearts, who was wanted for attempted murder after shooting at police during a chase in which he stole several cars, one with a baby inside, was airlifted from the Locke Block apartment building in downtown Devils Lake Friday night, Feb. 3, 2017, after shooting himself following negotiations with law enforcement.

2. The failure of the vote for the Fine Arts Center. It was well after 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, when Superintendent Scott Privratsky came to deliver the results of the vote on the bond issue that would partially fund the Fine Arts Center to a gathering of supporters in the school board meeting room.

Of the city residents 688 voted yes and 554 voted no, one ballot was spoiled or blank for a total of 1,243 votes.

Of rural residents voting 430 voted yes and 427 voted no, one ballot was either blank or spoiled for a total of 858 votes.

Although over half the voters supported the proposal to build a Fine Arts Center, 53 percent of voters supported the issue, 60 percent was required for it to pass.

3. Michael Ott, charged with the fire at the Devils Lake Hardees was found not guilty on the arson, but guilty of burglary.

4. The Devils Lake Police Chief and Captain were placed on administrative leave at the Devils Lake City Commission meeting held Monday, April 3, 2017.  A series of stories resulted from this meeting which resulted in both leaving the city’s employment and an Attorney General’s ruling that the meeting violated the open meetings, open records law.

5. Federal regulators stepped in to make changes in the leadership at the Citizens Community Credit Union in Devils Lake.

6. Following a series of walk-offs at the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center and one where the missing inmate was missing for 30 hours before it was noted by the authorities, the corrections facilities throughout the state came under scrutiny.

7. While the nation was dealing with a series of sexual harassment allegations in 2017, the Lake Region State College staff dealt with its own version as a coach’s relationship with a female player violated school policy and resulted in disciplinary actions for its employees.

8. Finding a business to occupy the former Ultra Green factory in the city’s industrial park led to negotiations with a company named Bio Fiber. However, that business’ failure to materialize led to further scrutiny of Forward Devils Lake by the Devils Lake City Commission. Rachel Lindstrom resigned as director of Forward Devils Lake effective Dec. 22, 2017.

9. What ever happened to Virgil Feather? The body of a Spirit Lake Nation man, who was missing since the previous November, was found in March of 2017.

10. An application submitted by Grand Prairie Agriculture LLP to the ND State Health Department for a medium confined animal feeding operation near the banks of Devils Lake has sparked opposition within the region.

Other Local:

Other news stories that were discussed, but didn’t make the top 10 included the following:

Dave Brustad arrested for theft at Leevers Foods.

Sons of Norway Devils Lake celebrates 100 years.

Savanna Greywind murdered in Fargo, her baby kidnapped, has ties to the Lake Region and family living nearby.

The revitalization of the downtown Devils Lake as part of the Governor’s Main Street initiatives.

The movement to abolish North Dakota’s Blue Laws gains momentum.

“Let the people decide.” As a special election is planned for March 2018 to vote on raising the city’s sales tax to help pay for infrastructure needs and to fund an activity center, two separate issues to be voted on.

The movement gains momentum to sell alcohol at the Spirit Lake Casino on the Spirit Lake Nation.

The city opens its homeless shelter and provides summer feeding program for children.

Ramsey County Commission takes steps forward in establishing Home Rule.

Flooding predicted for Devils Lake for 2017 never materialized.

Devils Lake’s Mayor Dick Johnson named to the State Water Commission.

Other                                                                                                                     Other year-end wrap ups should also include what has happened on a national level that affects everyone: The inauguration of President Donald Trump, the national effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare,” and now that the president’s tax bill has been signed into law, what that means for North Dakotans remains to be seen.

All-in-all 2017 was an eventful year both nationally and locally, no doubt 2018 will be equally eventful.