The El-Vu Motel in Bowman is shown on Monday. A man was found on Saturday dead in his own blood by staff. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)

The El-Vu Motel in Bowman is shown on Monday. A man was found on Saturday dead in his own blood by staff. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)

Jury finds defendants in Bowman County homicide case guilty on all charges

The two suspects charged in the 2016 death of a Rhame man at a motel in Bowman were found guilty on all charges on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson.

Madison Beth West, 27, of Dickinson, and Chase Duane Swanson, 22, of Bowman, were charged with conspiracy to commit murder, a Class AA felony, in Bowman County.

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Julia Jacobson, who was born in Dickinson and grew up throughout the region, has been missing since the beginning of September. Police believe her remains may have been found. (Submitted photo)

Julia Jacobson, who was born in Dickinson and grew up throughout the region, has been missing since the beginning of September. Police believe her remains may have been found. (Submitted photo)

Remains of missing North Dakota native Julia Jacobson believed to be found

CACTUS CITY, Calif. — The remains of a retired U.S. Army captain and North Dakota native who has been missing in the San Diego area since early September may have been found, police confirmed Friday.

The remains, suspected to be that of Julia Jacobson and her dog, Boogie, were found in a shallow grave near the 10 Freeway and Box Canyon Road near Cactus City on Friday, the Ontario (Calif.) Police Department said. Cactus City is an unincorporated area northeast of San Diego.

Jacobson, 37, who was born in Dickinson and grew up throughout the region, was originally reported missing on Sept. 2 to the San Diego Police Department. Investigators from the SDPD conducted an extensive search for Jacobson, which led them to the city of Ontario. The Ontario Police Department then became the lead agency.

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Temps, winds give firefighters fits as western ND wildfire burns rugged terrain

GRASSY BUTTE, N.D. -- Firefighters battled a wildfire stretching across two counties in western North Dakota for the third day on Monday, July 10, with little hope in sight of when the blaze will finally be out.

As of Monday afternoon, the U.S. Forest Service said the fire, dubbed the “Magpie Fire,” was about 15 percent contained and consumed about 5,100 acres. About 60 percent of the fire is in McKenzie County and the rest is in Billings County.

Roughly 90 percent of the fire was in a Forest Service “inventoried roadless area,” or undeveloped land. No homes were being threatened by the fire, although it had progressed “through the rough country north into some private holdings,” the Forest Service said.

Douglas Nordby, chairman of the McKenzie County Commission, declared a fire emergency/disaster Monday, activating the response of “any and all applicable local disaster or emergency operational plans.

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iStock photo

iStock photo

A continuing problem: Drug crime has not gone away since the oil boom

Bakken oil may have gone into a downturn in the last few years, but that doesn't mean that drug crime did too.

Stark County State's Attorney Tom Henning said the number of cases his office has taken since the oil boom has not changed or diminished, and meth-related crimes are the most common.

"Methamphetamine use in western North Dakota is epidemic and has been for 10 years," he said.

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Kurt Wilson / The Missoulian  Five-year-old Hayden O’Leary watches the Lolo Peak fire from the back of her grandfather’s truck in August while parked on a ridge overlooking Lolo and the Bitterroot Valley from the Miller Creek area.

Kurt Wilson / The Missoulian

Five-year-old Hayden O’Leary watches the Lolo Peak fire from the back of her grandfather’s truck in August while parked on a ridge overlooking Lolo and the Bitterroot Valley from the Miller Creek area.

Montana is burning: Wildfires in Montana have burned 1 million acres, cost $300 million overall

While Houston and part of Texas is overflowing with water and flooding, hundreds of thousands of acres in western Montana are engulfed by wildfires.

More than 30 large wildfires were burning in the state as of Thursday afternoon, causing "major concern," said Angela Wells, fire information officer for the Montana Department of Natural Resources. A large wildfire is any fire over 100 acres.

Over the past three months, fires in Montana have burned more than 1 million acres, with an estimated 700,000 acres currently burning. Wells said the fires, which are using local, state and federal resources to fight, have cost more than $300 million in total. Montana had $35 million in its fire suppression fund this year.

"Right now Montana is experiencing the most severe fire season in its history," she said. "We've had unprecedented warm and dry conditions. In fact, June to August was the warmest, driest period on record."

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Old St. Joe's hospital could become mental health facility

St. Joseph's hospital has sat empty in the middle of Dickinson for nearly two and half years, but it may finally have a purpose.

Although nothing is finalized yet the hospital may serve as a landing spot for those with mental illness and addiction issues, said Reed Reyman, president of CHI St. Alexius in Dickinson. Reyman said while the old hospital is still for sale, Jeffrey Drop, senior vice president for CHI, agreed if the facility could be used for something that would benefit the community, CHI would happily donate it.

"We're moving forward with that and the idea was to have a systemic approach," he said. "What that meant was we had to figure out what resources do we have for mental health. Who can provide what? Do we have barriers in place that keep us from providing? How come there isn't access? What do we need to do here so people don't have to go down the road for services?"

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Dickinson PD warns about the dangers of fentanyl

The Dickinson Police Department is warning citizens to be aware of the drug fentanyl, as they believe it may be the cause of several overdoses in the area over the past few weeks.

DPD Capt. Joe Cianni said the department believes that fentanyl may be the cause of at least three overdoses in the past four weeks, though they do not know for certain. He noted there could be more overdoses that have gone unreported because people may not call emergency services and instead just take someone to the hospital. It is also not always evident what kind of drug the person may have overdosed on.

“Fentanyl and heroin a lot of times show similar overdose symptoms,” he said. “It’s very difficult to tell.”

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"We're everybody's bar, with the bikers there"

Bernie's Esquire may have the reputation of being Dickinson's "biker bar" for the past 30 years, but the happy and friendly personalities of owners Bernie and Paulette Marsh make everyone feel right at home.

"(The bikers) they love us, they treat us really, really well," Paulette said. "Even though we are the biker bar we're everybody's bar with the bikers there."

The family farmed and ranched outside of Dickinson for many years before opening the bar. Bernie had also worked at the Esquire when it had a different set of owners.

The business is family-run. Paulette noted that seven out of their eight children live in Dickinson and work at the bar. One of their sons, Maxsonn, has been working at Bernie's since the day he turned 21.

"I think it's amazing what they've done," he said. "I'm not even 30 years old yet and I can't imagine doing one job for 30 years. It's definitely dedication and they love the place."

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