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Minnesota reporter cussed at, threatened in city council meeting

The city council has faced "rumors of dysfunction" in the past, reports say.

A northern Minnesota reporter's questions to a small-town city council have landed her at the center of the very story she set out to write.

On Monday, Oct. 1, Doris Knutson of the Northern Light Region, a news outlet in Baudette, showed up to the Roosevelt City Council to cover an evening meeting.

It didn't last long.

As Knutson's publication reports, the session kicked off with a quick recap of recent council business, which evidently held something that surprised Knutson – mention of a special meeting that had taken place the month before.

Under law, such meetings must be announced to the public three days before they happen – which had not happened in this case, Northern Light Region says. When Knutson pointed this out to the council, things quickly got out of hand.

A quick explanation was made by one of the council members, but when Knutson "pressed the issue," the Northern Light says, City Clerk Alyce Siats yelled at the reporter, “My g*d***n dad died!”

Shortly thereafter, Council Member Arlyn Stewart allegedly crossed the room, "towered over" and "berated" Knutson, and then adjourned the meeting, the Grand Forks Herald says. 

It lasted all of four minutes. 

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An editor of Northern Light Region tells the Herald – which says the Roosevelt City Council has faced "rumors of dysfunction" – that Knutson "had to sit in her car for a while because she was shaking so bad she didn't feel safe to drive."

The Herald says there was an investigation by the Roseau County Sheriff's Department after the meeting, but so far, no charges have been filed.  

Knutson tells Bring Me The News that the Roosevelt City Council has had "transparency issues" in the past.

"They have been asked to provide city financials for past years and have been unable to do so and they also make it pretty difficult to obtain meeting minutes," she said in an email.

In addition, Knutson wrote, council members once "voted to not share minutes with an individual because they say she used them for the purpose of harassment, which was not in any way true."

As to the sheriff's interest in the incident, Knutson says that "as far as I know the investigation is ongoing," though she hasn't been contacted by authorities yet. 

Roosevelt has a population of about 150. 

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