Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trees snapped and uprooted during last night's winds...

July 29, 2015 -- Trees snapped and uprooted during last night's winds... Fallen branches and debris along the streets of Carrington, ND....

We didn't have to go far this morning to see some intense damage from last night's high winds. Just across the street in Kelly Hagel's yard a tree was literally snapped in two. Luckily it landed away from his house! Down the street a large tree fell completely across the road, completely blocking traffic. By the time we drove by for a second look, a crew was already there with equipment to assess the situation and remove the tree. Foster County Emergency Manager Jess Earle tells me that she is out taking pictures and assessing damage all around the county. She will share those photos with us later.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Case Closes on State vs. Roger Schlotmann

After almost two years, (complaint filed October 31, 2013) the State and Roger Schlotman entered into  a plea agreement.  Former County Auditor Schlotman was formally charged after a preliminary hearing with three counts of misapplicaiton of entrusted property and two counts of criminal conspiracy. In the end Mr. Schlotman plead guilty to one count of a public servant refusing/failing to perform his duty --  with no fine and a reimbursement of the $900 in question plus $100 court costs. 

This case is a testament to prosecutorial misconduct.   Prosecutor Murray stalled and delayed this case for almost two years.  On the eve of trial, August 3, 2015, she played "Let's make a deal with Mr. Schlotman."  One's examination of the file shows that all the delays were caused by Ms. Murray's incompetence.  

Why the delay of bringing this case to trial? One can only speculate that Ms. Murray felt that  the lack of any hard evidence would be apparent to a Foster County jury.  

The best example of Ms. Murray's dilatory tactics can be found in HER motion for a change of venue.  She requested that the Court move the trial to Ramsey County because of the pretrial publicity (almost exclusively from this website).  Apparently, Ms. Murray failed to take any type of Constitutional law classes while attending law school.  Her motion for change of venue lacked any real legal authority since the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution requires all criminal trials to occur in the district in which the offense is alleged to have occurred.

Ms. Murray engaged in a battle of attrition. Her numerous frivolous motions for continuances and her unsuccessful motion for change of venue and joinder of Commissioner Carr's case obviously cost Mr. Schlotman tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.  

What was the final result?  As mentioned above, Former Auditor Schlottman has to repay the $900 that was authorized for payment by the commission and $100 in Court fees.

This website has repeatedly demanded that Ms. Murray disclose to the public her billable hours in this case and in the case of State vs. Carr.  To this date no such response has been provided by her.  Now that the case is closed, we intend to demand that Ms. Murray provide all of the billing records regarding this case.  Once those records are revealed, we believe that it will show the incompetence of the Foster County State's Attorney's office.

This entire case was initiated by our own State's Attorney Paul Murphy.  We taxpayers can thank Mr. Murphy for wasting all the taxpayers' money in this case.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Old Time Tractor Trek from Carrington to Bordulac

What a great idea... an old time tractor trek!  All kinds of awesome old tractors and their owners gathered at the City Park in Carrington, North Dakota.  Their destination?   To have a nice meal at the Bordulac Bar & Grill about 10 miles away...   

Trekking along a  pleasant country road on a beautiful sunny day with the goal of visiting with friends over a great meal...  What an outstanding way to spend the evening!  Simply delightful!

Although I didn't go on the trek, I had a huge amount of fun with my friend, Dolly Footitt.  We tried to park far enough away from the park so we could film everyone who drove by on the way to Bordulac.  Dolly was thrilled to see everyone waving at the camera.  For someone who is over a hundred years old, she gets the biggest kick out of such small pleasantries. That's probably why she is the wonderfully positive person that she is!  I hope all the trekkers saw Dolly waving back at them!

I wish the faces of all the trekkers showed up better on the video.  However, because of the evening shadows, the twilight, the position of the camera, etc., most of them aren't that recognizable.  I'll try to do better next year!

Putnam House Summer Concerts

Alison Schumann Singing "Black Horse in a Cherry Tree"

This summer the Putnam House is featuring local singers in a Summer Concert Series. The first performance took place on June 30, 2015, with singers Brian Duursma, Dillon Boehmer and Alison Schumann. Although the skies were overcast, and it even sprinkled a little, the community brought out lawn chairs, blankets, kids and dogs to enjoy the show.

We're looking forward to more concerts at Putnam House this summer!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

CONGRATULATIONS to Josh Dreher! Our New Foster County Commissioner

Foster County Commissioner Josh Dreher and Commission Chairman Jim Carr

CONGRATULATIONS to Josh Dreher! Our New Foster County Commissioner
The Foster County Commission had a special meeting today, July 9, 2015, at the Carrington Courthouse to appoint a new commissioner to the seat vacated by Bill Bauer. Chairman Jim Carr officiated at the meeting and Commissioner Pat Copenhaven attended telephonically. Carr moved to appoint Josh Dreher as the new commissioner, and Copenhaven seconded the motion. 

Commissioner Dreher will be seated at the Commissioner's table at the next meeting of the commission on July 21, 2015. Congratulations, Josh! We look forward to having you as a commissioner!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Retirement Party for Foster County Commissioner Bill Bauer

On Thursday, June 25, 2015, well-wishers gathered at the Foster County Courthouse for Commission Chairman Bill Bauer's retirement party. While people took pictures for keepsakes, I decided to take pictures for the Foster County community and Carrington News viewers. I think it's important to recognize and appreciate the people who serve us at the courthouse, so this was a great time to get their pictures.
Before the party started, Bill was having what I would call a "policy" meeting with some of the personnel who work at the courthouse. It was a privilege to witness the positive way they focused on items that needed to be addressed. One could see from Bill's leadership at this meeting, why he is considered to have been such a good commission chairman and why he is going to be missed.
We want Bill to know how much we have appreciated his service and leadership, and that we wish him a happy and healthy retirement from the commission.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Bill Bauer Submitted His Resignation to the Foster County Commission
At the June 16, 2015, Foster County Commissioners Meeting, the current commissioners voted to give all qualified Foster County residents a chance to become the next commissioner.

As you know, and sad to report, Chairman Bill Bauer has recently had to resign his position because of serious health issues, The community is lucky that Bauer has served this long, because since his election in Novermber, 2014, Commissioner Bauer has managed to help straighten out many of the problems which were taking place at the Courthouse. Commissioner Jim Carr expressed his appreciation for Bauer's exceptional service and asked if he could possibly stay until November. Bauer explained that he would like to stay on, but his doctor has encouraged him to resign because of recent health issues, and his family agrees that he should resign and focus on getting well.

After some discussion about how to choose the next Foster County commissioner, Jim Carr and Pat Copenhaver voted to let community members who are interested and qualified have a chance to serve as commissioner until the next election. All a person has to do is submit an up-to-date resume giving their qualifications for the position and turn it in to Auditor Casey Cables' office at the courthouse. The commissioners will review the resumes, make a decision, and announce the person of their choice as soon as possible.

As Jim Carr expressed, this method takes away the stress of the present commissioners trying to find a qualified candidate,and talk them into taking the job. This way, they will know that the applicants are truly interested in being a commissioner.... without someone pressing them take the position.

So, if you are truly interested in becoming a Foster County commissoner, here's your chance! More details about how to apply for this position will be posted in the next Foster County Independent.

NOTE: As someone who has applied for professional jobs and has served on hiring committees, I would like to suggest that you attach a personal letter to your resume, explaining why you would like to be a Foster County Commissioner. I don't know if the commission will ask for that, but it's an excellent thing to do. (Just be sure to have someone proofread it for you.) Express some of your personal values and tell what you would like to accomplish for the community. And... best wishes to you! ~Judy Keller

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

UPDATE June 16, 2015: Texted Threats against Foster County Official

On Saturday, June 6, 2015, posted an article about death threats being made against Foster County Recorder Lynelle Hoppe.  To summarize, those threats were made by a group of people texting each other, while their messages were going to an official Foster County phone number previously used by Ex-Auditor/Emergency Manager Teresa Risovi.  The texters were past employees of Foster County who had either resigned or were fired from their positions at the Courthouse, as well as one elected officer who had resigned recently.

On June 6, 2015, we published part of this public record which included the texted death threats and phone numbers of the people who made them. Many members of the Carrington community reacted strongly to these threatening texts, and wanted to know what was going to be done about the situation. 

Foster County Sheriff Mattice conducted an investigation and gave his report to State's Attorney Paul Murphy whose job it is to prosecute matters of this nature - if necessary.  Mr. Murphy informed us that due to the fact that this matter "involved courthouse personnel as victim and alleged defendant, the Foster County States Attorneyss office must turn the matter over to a conflict attorney"  - meaning that he could not prosecute the case.

Today, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at the Foster County Commission meeting, community-member Ted Keller reminded the commissioners that one of the texters who had threatened Recorder Hoppe was still working upstairs at the courthouse where she had threatened to throw Ms. Hoppe "over the railing."  Called the "Stalker" by this group (whose members wanted to "hit the bitch in the parking lot" and "lay on the overpass" and "sniper her"), this is the employee who said in the text  "Maybe i should follow her over noon hour!!!!"

Listen to Ted Keller in the video as he asks the commission what is being done about this employee.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Elected Foster County Official Subject of Threatening Text Messages

Foster County Recorder Lynelle Hoppe

Around last Thursday, June 4, 2015, new Emergency Manager Jess Earle received a text message thread from a group of people.  The phone she received the messages on was the Foster County Emergency Manager's cell phone which was previously used by Emergency Manager Teresa Risovi.  These messages became a public record when they were transmitted to a County-owned phone.

Although the person being threatened was never referred to by name, it's easy to conclude that the only person they could be referring to is County Recorder Lynelle Hoppe.  

One party In these messages refers to throwing Recorder Hoppe over the railing in the Courthouse. "I hope so. Shoulda threw her over the railing. Dangit."  This message was sent from phone number 701-307-0741.

The next message in this thread referred to hitting Recorder Hoppe with a vehicle. "I cud always hit the bitch in the parking lot!"  This message was sent from phone number 701-652-5790.

The next threatening message referred to shooting Recorder Hoppe from the overpass near the courthouse. "I could sniper her.... I'll lay on the overpass."  This text threat was sent from 701-652-5725.

Carrington News called the numbers above in an attempt to get statements from the people who were texting these messages.  We were hoping to identify the texters and give them a chance to explain themselves.   Only one person answered her phone, and she immediately hung up when we explained what we were investigating.  

Note:  We apologize for the poor quality of the public record below.  This is how it was given to us. There are many other pages in the thread, and more participants involved in the texting which was sent to nine phone numbers.  However, we are publishing only the pages with threatening messages.  The entire texting conversation can be obtained at the Foster County Courthouse.

The following comments are from my Facebook site.  Some viewers and members of the Carrington Community are expressing what they think about the above texted comments and the people who wrote them.

Jacob Earl - Time to call Fargo FBI. seeing as how cyber crimes are a federal offense. Maybe instead of calling them yourselves the Sheriff and the deputies should get involved also? If they are saying these things the last thing I would do is try to figure it out on your own especially if they are talking murder and vehicle homicde.
Unlike · Reply · 4 · June 7 at 7:57pm

Ted Keller - Makes sense to me

Ted Keller - Was this a crime? Here is the Century Code: 12.1-17-04. "Terrorizing.
A person is guilty of a class C felony if, with intent to place another human being in fear for that human being's or another's safety or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious disruption or public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror, disruption, or inconvenience, the person:
1. Threatens to commit any crime of violence or act dangerous to human life; or
2. Falsely informs another that a situation dangerous to human life or commission of a crime of violence is imminent knowing that the information is false.
12.1-17-05. Menacing.
A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if he knowingly places or attempts to place another human being in fear by menacing him with imminent serious bodily injury.
1. Threatens to commit any crime of violence or act dangerous to human life; or
2. Falsely informs another that a situation dangerous to human life or commission of a crime of violence is imminent knowing that the information is false.
12.1-17-05. Menacing.
A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if he knowingly places or attempts to place another human being in fear by menacing him with imminent serious bodily injury."

Doug Heinitz   - Why not just call the proper authorities instead of being the Snoop Sisters and do it the right way. They'll determine if a crime has been committed and let them deal with it. It beats calling the phone numbers and what is that going to accomplishment anyway? Nothing! It would be like calling Duck Twacy, the famous duck detective. Be smart and let the authorities handle the problem. How my home town has changed since I was born and raised there. Sad!
Like · Reply · 6 · June 7 at 9:34pm

Ted Keller - This text is a public record since it was sent to a Foster County cell phone. The victim and the public have a right to know.
Like · June 7 at 9:48pm

Jacob Earl - Doug, I lived there for almost a year. I loved the small town feel. Not the drama though
Like · 1 · June 7 at 11:13pm

Mark Oster - Mr Keller. Most folks understand that. For the most part the posts of this nature are nothing more than entertainment. Do you really think the texts are a diabolical plan to actually hurt someone? Or are the texts a couple of people...just plain texting? Common sense should be used.
Like · 3 · June 8 at 10:43am

Hope Bretzman Carr - Yes i do think this is a clear threat. I know for a fact at least one person involved who is not mentally stable. Looking at this... Maybe more. For those who think this is entertainment you obviously have not been the subject of threats like many of us have. If you find any of this entertaining--- go check yourself. These people are out of control and should be stopped.
Unlike · 4 · June 8 at 11:05am

Ted Keller - Mr. Oster, I suggest that you test your idea of "entertainment" out with the victim being the president and see how it entertains the secret service. Hmm. How long would it take for the cuffs to come on?
Like · June 8 at 11:25am

Ted Keller - Freedom of speech is not death threats against anyone let alone an elected public official.
Like · June 8 at 11:27am

Ted Keller - Mr. Oster did you read the part about these people sending the text to a county used cell phone?
Like · June 8 at 11:30am

CarringtonNews .Com - Mark, do you think Lynelle Hoppe feels "entertained" when she reads texts like this from her co-worker and a past employee who used to flip her off and call her a b#### because she wouldn't go along with the underhanded stuff that was going on at the courthouse in the past? It may be entertainment for the textters, but why should Lynelle have to put up with a co-worker who is actually spying on her (for some reason) for this group. In another part of the texts, this Mel is actually referred to as "That's why we luv u stalker" by one of the textters (Phone 701-307-0178), and Mel says, "Maybe I should follow her over noon hour." These people may not have a "diabolical plan" to actually hurt Lynelle physically, but do you think bullying like this in the workplace should be allowed without any repercussions? I like your common sense comment above, and would truly like to hear more from you now that you have more details about the situation. ~Judy Keller
Like · 1 · June 8 at 11:35am · Edited

Joshua Dreher - I think the fact that a county owned cell number was involved in this is very disturbing. A person can only come to one of two logical conclusions: 1. The previous emergency manager most likely participated in conversations of this nature on her county cell phone in the past and found it to be permissible ...or ... 2. The people involved in this conversation chose to include this county number intentionally with hopes of the content reaching and intimidating the Recorder . Either way these actions are inexcusable.
Unlike · 3 · June 8 at 10:02pm · Edited

CarringtonNews.Com - Doug Heinitz - I notice that Sheriff Mattice likes what you have to say, and I do too, for the most part. This whole situation has been turned over to him, and I know he will do a thorough job of investigating. He came to Foster County with high recommendations and has been doing an excellent job. We want to apologize to Sheriff Mattice for "jumping the gun" with our article before he could finish his investigation. We just wanted to make sure that the community knows what is STILL going on at the Courthouse. Lynelle Hoppe continues to be the target of a past disgruntled employee who was fired. As well, that employee has been joined by others (a current courthouse employee called "Stalker," various other people who resigned from their positions at the courthouse, and some unknown entities) all texting seemingly vicious intent toward Ms. Hoppe. She does not deserve to be the victim of their terrorizing threats, and we want something to be done about the situation.
Like · Reply · 3 · June 7 at 11:46pm · Edited

Doug Heinitz -  I must agree with Mr. Ted Keller that the residents do have a right to know what happens in Foster County. To me, if in fact a crime was committed here that all the info gathered should have been turned over to Sheriff Mattice instead of posting it here. It gives those involved a heads up and time to get their stories straight to cover their butts in case a crime was committed and when confronted by law enforcement. It hinders Sheriff Mattice when the kitty is let out of the bag before it can be properly investigated. I know everyone here has good intentions and love their community. When laws may have been broken and a life is threatened by assassination and being run over by vehicle the party that received the threats should have on receipt of messages turned them over to Sheriff Mattice. This is serious business and should be treated as such. Nothing funny about the whole situation and those that think it is, well that's another situation that needs to be addressed. I was born and raised in Carrington and left when I was 19. I have such fond memories of Carrington and hate to hear of this type of stuff going on there. By the way, love the website Carrington News, keep up the great work.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


At the Foster County Commission meeting today, May 19, 2015, newly appointed Sheriff Ian Mattice requested and received funding for a taser gun for the officer on duty. He explained that a taser gun is essential in the use of non-deadly force. With the influx of unknown, out-of-area people going to the oil fields, police officers are being faced with more and more dangerous incidents that have not happened in the past. For example, an incident took place in Foster County on Friday, May 15th, just a few days ago, where a taser gun could have come in handy in the apprehension of a wanted felon who had numerous warrants out for his arrest.

Please read the report that Sheriff Mattice submitted to us after the commission meeting today, concerning the incident that took place on Friday:

"On 5-15-2015, approximately 1130 hours, Deputies from the Foster County Sheriff's Department attempted to pull over a vehicle for not having a muffler. The vehicle fled and led the Deputies on a high speed pursuit with speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. The suspect led the Deputies on gravel roads into Eddy County, and ended up pulling on to a farmyard where the driver got stuck in the mud. The vehicle continued to try to get out, rocking back and forth while Deputies approached. Eddy County Sheriff's Department arrived and assisted the Deputies along with the North Dakota Game & Fish. The driver of the vehicle refused to open the doors upon commands and continued to try to get unstuck. The Deputies smashed the windows out and forcibly removed the driver who resisted arrest. During this altercation, a pit bull from the suspect vehicle came out and bit one of the Deputies twice. The pit bull was eventually taken into custody by the Eddy County Sheriff's Department. The driver of the vehicle was charged for fleeing a peace officer, resisting arrest, as well as possession of Methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and ammunition by a felon. The suspect also had federal arrest warrants by the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. There were also two other people in the vehicle including a pregnant female. They were taken to the Carrington ER to get medically cleared after the incident. While at the hospital, the Eddy County Deputy accidently let the pit bull out of the Eddy County vehicle. Suspect was transferred to Stutsman County Corrections. Throughout the weekend, the Carrington PD received numerous calls about the pit bull. On 5-18, Foster County Sheriff's Department received word that the Carrington PD had seen the dog on the north end of town. Carrington PD shot the dog. The dog didn't die, but was wounded, wandering around town, and growling at people. Sheriff's Deputies located and dispatched the pit bull in the city of Carrington, removing the threat to the public and relieving the suffering of the dog."

One can see from the incident above that a situation like this could have become deadly, especially with the type of suspect that our Sheriff and deputies were trying to apprehend. Chairman Bill Bauer stated that our police officers need the proper equipment to protect themselves in their service to our community, and the other commissioners agreed that a taser gun should be purchased.

Note: Once again, the commission made a good decision in appointing Ian Mattice as our sheriff. Thanks to him, his deputies and other Carrington city law enforcement officers, our citizens were protected from harm.