Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.
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MOORHEAD — A superintendent on paid leave at a small North Dakota school district caught in a firestorm of sexual misconduct allegations against male students has applied, along with teachers from the district, to establish a charter school in Moorhead. Documents obtained by The Forum through a public records request show that Tim Godfrey, the superintendent, and four teachers from Richland 44 School District in Colfax, N.D., submitted an application April 23 to the Minnesota Department of Education to start Great Plains School of Technology and Innovation.
FARGO — The right conditions are in place for a fire to go wrong, and fast. High winds up to 35 mph, low humidity, warm temperatures and brown, dry vegetation have put most of North Dakota and Minnesota at an elevated risk of grass fires and wildfires this weekend and into next week. Folks should proceed with caution if planning to do a controlled burn or having a backyard fire, said Jim Prochniak, Cass County's emergency manager. "That wind can take those sparks," Prochniak said. "Exercise some better judgement, and be careful."
COLFAX, N.D. — The embattled Richland 44 School District has named a new superintendent to lead the school after an investigation revealed allegations of sexual misconduct and hazing among male students. Dean Koppelman, 63, former superintendent for the Valley City Public School District, will step in as substitute superintendent of Richland. He has 25 years of education experience, with the last 18 years spent in Valley City before his retirement in 2016.
FARGO — A one-week survey of sexual violence across North Dakota counted 101 victims who used crisis hotlines or received services such as therapy, shelter or legal assistance. CAWS North Dakota, a coalition of 20 domestic violence and sexual assault crisis intervention centers in the state, conducted the point-in-time survey Feb. 12-19. CAWS said the actual number of people receiving sexual violence services during that week likely exceeded what was reported.
COLFAX, N.D. — Assistant football coaches in the Richland 44 School District are calling for a "cultural overhaul" in the wake of allegations and investigations alleging years of sexual assault and hazing among teenage boys at the school. "What happens when you search Richland online? You see nothing but ugly news articles," said coach Zach Riopelle on Tuesday, April 17. "We need to show everyone that isn't us. Show them that whoever they think we are, we aren't."
FARGO — A 47-year-old man accused of firing a gunshot this week at a Fargo strip club was charged in 2000 with attempted murder for allegedly trying to shoot four men with a rifle after an argument at a bar in Hawaii. Pedro Dagdag III, of West Fargo and formerly of Kealakekua, Hawaii, was charged Friday, April 13, in Cass County District Court with seven counts stemming from the Wednesday, April 11, incident at The Northern Gentlemen's Club, 325 10th St. N. in Fargo.
FARGO — The 25-year-old Moorhead woman who was ejected from her vehicle in an Interstate 94 crash this month is in a coma at Essentia Health. The family of Danielle "Nella" Pitzen is sharing updates on her condition through a CaringBridge website as she recovers from a traumatic brain injury. As of Friday, April 6, Pitzen was able to wiggle her toes and squeeze her hands, according to the website. She suffered two broken vertebrae, a broken arm and ribs in the crash and remains on a ventilator.
COLFAX, N.D.—Disturbing details of sodomy and sexual assault dating back to 2015 in the Richland 44 School District are described in an independent report that says school leaders failed to sufficiently respond to allegations of student hazing and sexual misconduct. The district hired a Minneapolis law firm, Langevin Lentz, to investigate the matter and compile the findings in a report, which The Forum obtained Friday, April 6, through a public records request.
COLFAX, N.D. — There's another departure at the Richland 44 School District. Athletic director John Freeman, who is also coach of the Colt's football team, is no longer with the district, according to Lisa Amundson, president of the school board. Amundson would not confirm when Freeman left or whether he was fired or resigned. The president also wouldn't not comment on whether any other coaches within the district have recently departed.
COLFAX, N.D. — Leadership changes are underway at Richland 44 School District during an ongoing sexual misconduct and hazing investigation involving boys at the junior and senior high school. School Board President Lisa Amundson and board members on Tuesday, April 3, unanimously accepted the retirement of High School Principal Bruce Anderson and resignation of Superintendent Tim Godfrey, who has been on paid administrative leave since March 1 without explanation. Both the retirement and resignation are effective at the end of the school year on June 30.