Norsk Hostfest begins next week

MINOT, N.D. — “Pure Scandimonium” will return to Minot from Sept. 25-28 when the Norsk Hostfest is held at the State Fair Center in Minot.

Norsk Hostfest Association President David Reiten said the festival will focus strongly on Scandinavian heritage, from vendors to crafters to performers, according to Minot Daily News.

Some of the general admission entertainment includes The Medora Gospel Experience — A Musical Celebration; a Neil Diamond tribute show with performers Matt Vee and the Killer Vees, who are the son and nephews of Bobby Vee; Norwegian cowboy Bjoro Haaland, who has long been a popular singer at the Hostfest; Mollie B, of Jim Busta Band and Squeezebox and the host of the RFD-TV Polka Show, the Mollie B. Polka Party; the ever-popular comedy act Indian and the White Guy, otherwise known as Williams and Ree; and the Kentucky Riders.

The Viking Village, with historical reenactors, is always popular with audiences. It features people dressed up in historic Viking garb like chain mail who demonstrate live steel combat. Others show off their Viking crafting skills. Telge Glima will be back to show off Viking games and sports.

More information about the schedule and the many other things going on at the Hostfest can be found at

US Dept. of Ed. deputy secretary tours Minot high school

MINOT, N.D. — U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Mitchell “Mick” Zais told administrators and staff at Minot High School-Magic City Campus Friday, Sept. 20, that he understands the value of offering different education options for different kinds of students, Minot Daily News reported.

Zais’ son decided that he preferred military service to academia and later decided he wanted a career working with computers instead of a four-year undergraduate degree. He said his son now has a successful career because his skills are in such high demand.

Zais toured nursing, IT, aviation, auto technology, welding and horticulture classes at the high school Friday.

He also spoke about the Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ proposed Education Freedom Scholarships proposal, which has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House.

The proposal would create a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs.

Zais said states would be able to design their own programs and program criteria based on the needs in each state.

North Dakota, for example, could put some of the funding into career and technical education programs like those offered at Magic City Campus. Other possible uses might be to fund dual credit classes or special education programs.

New Miss North Dakota USA, Miss North Dakota Teen USA crowned

FARGO — The Miss North Dakota USA and Miss North Dakota Teen USA pageants took place Saturday, Sept. 21, at Brandon Valley Performing Arts Center in Brandon, S.D., where the panel of judges selected Macy Christianson of Minot as Miss North Dakota USA 2020 and Amanda Higginbotham of Grand Forks as Miss North Dakota Teen USA 2020.

Both titleholders will now advance and compete next year at the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA national pageants.

The competition, which is held annually, consists of three proportional segments: evening gown, swimwear/activewear and interview. Eligible young women must be between the ages of 14 and 27 and be unmarried residents of North Dakota.

Christianson and Higginbotham will each receive thousands of dollars in prizes and awards. They will have the opportunity to compete for the national titles of this coming year. Christianson will compete for the title of Miss USA on the live national telecast of Miss USA on FOX television, and Higginbotham will compete for the title of Miss Teen USA at the national pageant next year.

In addition, the new Miss USA will go on to represent the United States in the Miss Universe competition.

Police chase starts in North Dakota, ends in Minn.

FARGO — A pursuit started in Mapleton, N.D., at about 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, that ultimately spanned to Norman County, Minn., where 31-year-old Tavis Ranisate, of Casselton, N.D., was taken into custody.

According to authorities, Cass County deputies noticed a vehicle lingering around the Mapleton storage units, hauling a trailer with no taillights. Ranisate fled Cass County deputies after initial contact was made.

The West Fargo Police Department was successful in deploying spike strips, or tire-deflating devices, when Ranisate entered West Fargo.

A female passenger was released from the scene.

Ranisate was charged with reckless endangerment, fleeing or attempting to allude a police officer, reckless driving and driving under suspension.

Highway 200 remains closed due to flooding as I-29 and US 52 sections open

GRAND FORKS — The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the state Highway Patrol have opened Interstate 29 near Grand Forks and sections of U.S. 52 near Fessenden and Sykeston.

Highway 200 near Hurdsfield remains closed due to flooding. Motorists are advised to check road conditions before travel due to flowing water levels changing in some areas throughout the weekend.

Highway 200 from Hurdsfield to U.S. 52 junction from mile marker 245 to 268 is closed due to water on the roadway. Motorists need to use alternate routes.

For updated road information, call 511 or go to the travel information map at

Mandan woman pleads guilty in zoo selfie trespass case

BISMARCK — The Mandan woman accused of jumping a guardrail and approaching a primate cage at Bismarck’s Dakota Zoo in July so she could snap a selfie pleaded guilty Monday, Sept. 23, but can keep the incident off her record if she stays out of trouble for a year.

Ashlee Brown, 18, entered the plea in Bismarck Municipal Court, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Municipal Judge William Severin deferred imposition of her sentence and fined her $300. She will be on unsupervised probation for 360 days.

Brown was charged with criminal trespass for allegedly approaching the cage, touching a siamang and taking a photograph. A siamang is a gibbon, which is a small ape. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

Zoo Director Terry Lincoln at the time of the incident called it “one of those near misses” and said the zoo’s policy is to prosecute if an animal is placed in danger. There are some diseases that can be transmitted between humans and primates, and such actions also raise safety concerns for zoo visitors, he said.

GF woman sentenced for embezzling from bank

GRAND FORKS — A Grand Forks woman admitted on Monday, Sept. 23, to embezzling nearly $400,000 over 10 months from the bank where she previously worked.

Amber Nicole Ostgard was sentenced to spend about five months in jail, though she is eligible for electronic home monitoring.

An affidavit for her arrest said Ostgard worked at Frandsen Bank for several years. From March 1, 2018, until Jan. 23, 2019, she made transfers between accounts and kept hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A statement from Frandsen Bank said the customers impacted were notified and all funds were restored.

Chief Administrative Officer Karen Brekke said in a prepared statement that the bank has “rigorous audit procedures in place,” which quickly revealed Ostgard’s actions. Her employment was terminated immediately, Brekke said.

She pleaded guilty to charges that said she used other people’s personal information to take money from account holders at least 11 times, totaling $181,970. Ostgard also admitted to taking about $150,500 from bank accounts.

Ostgard was sentenced to five months in jail for misapplication of entrusted property and forgery. She will be on probation for three years and is required to pay back nearly $176,000.

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