Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag believes he’s underpaid.

Freitag has taken the county commissioners to court, seeking a higher salary. He filed an appeal in Freeborn County District Court, saying he deserved more than the $97,020 set by the board as his 2019 salary.

The amount represents a 5 percent raise over his 2018 salary of $92,403. Freitag had asked for a raise to more than $113,000.

In a court filing, Freitag said the board acted “in an arbitrary, capricious and oppressive manner” and failed to take into account “the responsibilities and duties of the office of Sheriff, [and] the Sheriff’s experience, qualifications and performance.” Freitag, elected to his second four-year term in November, has requested a hearing to provide evidence and testimony.

John Reinan


Shipping season to close this week

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is celebrating a successful 2018 shipping season on the Great Lakes as it comes to an end with the Soo Locks closing Jan. 15.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s executive director, Deb DeLuca, said in a statement that the season is ending on a strong note. Through November, grain volume was up 22 percent compared to last year, and iron ore was more than 25 percent above the five-year average. While coal shipments are down, iron ore is picking up.

The Port of Duluth-Superior is the largest tonnage port on the Great Lakes, according to the authority. Eight freighters are expected to spend the winter at shipyards or docks in the port.

Pam Louwagie

Stearns County

Attorneys can’t interview Heinrich

Attorneys for a man wrongly implicated as a ‘‘person of interest” in the 1989 abduction and murder of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling won’t be allowed to interview the boy’s confessed killer, a federal magistrate judge ruled last week.

Attorneys for Daniel Rassier had sought to interview Danny Heinrich, who confessed in 2016 to kidnapping and killing Wetterling, as part of a federal lawsuit against Stearns County, former Sheriff John Sanner and several investigators. Rassier has alleged that authorities defamed him in 2010 when they searched his St. Joseph, Minn., farm near the spot where Jacob was abducted, making it evident that Rassier was a “person of interest” in the case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois ruled that Rassier’s attorneys failed to show that Heinrich had any relevant information. Rassier’s attorneys can appeal the decision to District Judge Donovan Frank. The case is set for trial next January.

staff report