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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man rescued from ice on St. Louis River

From the Forum News Service

North Dakota

Search is on for man believed swept away by floodwaters

MINTO, N.D. -- Authorities were searching Tuesday for a Walsh County man whose pickup is believed to have been swept away from a water-covered gravel road Monday evening, about 3 miles southwest of Minto.

The man has been identified as Gregory Guy Miller, 55, of rural Grafton.

"We believe he is in the water," the Walsh County Sheriff's Department said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

According to authorities, Miller called a friend for help about 7:05 p.m.

"When the friend arrived, they exchanged waves," the report said. "The friend left to try to get closer and when he returned, the man was gone."

Authorities said Miller's pickup appears to have been washed off the township road that was inundated with flowing floodwaters and was pushed downstream before getting hung up on a riverbank.

The water was flowing into the Forest River, which started flooding the south portion of Minto on Monday, closing U.S. Highway 81.


Red crest at Fargo lowered again

FARGO -- The Red River was poised to crest Tuesday night, with forecasters from the National Weather Service expecting the river to peak at 33.3 feet here.

That's nearly 5 feet below the low end of the 38 to 40 feet range forecasters were calling for last week and far below mid-April forecasts that suggested the Red River in Fargo had a 40 percent chance of topping the 2009 record of 40.84 feet.

It's also lower than the 37-foot crest predicted Sunday.

If the river does top out at 33.3 feet, it will be the 12th-highest Fargo flood on record.

By 7:15 p.m., the Red was at 33.2 feet in Fargo, its peak up to that point.

The river is projected to begin falling from its expected crest sometime today, according to weather service forecasts. The river should drop below 30 feet sometime Sunday morning.



Man rescued from ice on St. Louis River

SUPERIOR, Wis. -- A 41-year-old man was rescued early Tuesday after spending the night on a piece of ice on the St. Louis River, according to the Superior Fire Department.

The department said it received a call at 2:57 a.m. Tuesday about a possible ice rescue after a passer-by heard someone shouting for help on the ice. First responders made voice contact with the man and determined his general location.

Superior police, Gold Cross Ambulance and the St. Louis County Rescue Squad assisted in rescuing the man, who had been surrounded by open water, about 300 yards from shore, since 9 p.m. Monday. The man, who was showing signs of hypothermia, apparently had been in the water at least once. He was transported by Gold Cross to St. Luke's hospital, where he was treated and released.

No information has been given as to why the man was on the river.

The fire department said the airboat provided and operated by the St. Louis County Rescue Squad was crucial in reducing the time it took for the rescue. The scene was cleared by 4:25 a.m.


Off-duty sheriff's supervisor shot by hunter

SOMERSET, Wis. -- An off-duty Washington County (Minn.) Sheriff's Office supervisor was struck in the face, neck and shoulder Tuesday by pellets fired by a turkey hunter, authorities said.

St. Croix County Sheriff John Shilts said Jerry Cusick, 53, of Stillwater, Minn., was scouting for birds on private property in Somerset when he was struck by a shot fired by Anthony Cardarelli of White Bear Lake, Minn.

Shilts said Cusick made his way to a neighbor's residence and from there was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He was listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon.

Cusick, who Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton described as an avid hunter, has been with the department for 28 years. He is responsible for the courts division, water patrol, parks, trails and the chaplain corps.

The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office said the shooting occurred around 7:24 a.m.

"There is no information at this point that Cardarelli intended to shoot a person," Shilts said. "However, I have great concern over the fact that Cardarelli did not properly identify his intended target prior to shooting."

The incident remains under investigation.


Fire leaves school unusable for rest of school year

ROBERTS, Wis. -- Officials with the St. Croix Central School District say extensive fire damage at the Roberts elementary school will prevent it from reopening before the end of the school year. By Monday, district leaders expect to have a plan as to how students will finish out the year.

Fire crews responded to a fire at St. Croix Central Elementary School in Roberts about 3:44 a.m. Tuesday.

Principal Steve Sanders said the fire appeared to have been deliberately set although Roberts-Warren Fire Chief Jeff Vogt would only say the cause was still under investigation.

The school office area and other sections of the school were heavily damaged. Even after two hours of fighting the blaze, fire was still smouldering in the ceiling of the school.

Superintendent David Bradley later stated, via a message on the district's web site, that classes at the elementary will be canceled for the rest of the week as the district assembles a plan to help students finish out the school year. He said the goal is to have alternative classrooms ready by Monday.



DNR stops issuing burn permits because of wind

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has stopped issuing burn permits until further notice in south Beltrami, north Cass, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Clearwater and Polk counties, according to an email from Beltrami County emergency management director Beryl Wernberg.

Officials are citing high winds as reason to stop issuing permits. Wernberg said existing permits can't be used either.

"They will probably have to get a new permit for coming days when the wind goes down," Wernberg wrote.

The announcement comes after a wood pile that was sanctioned by a burn permit ignited a grass fire in Bemidji on Monday afternoon.


Man pleads guilty to killing pedestrian while driving drunk

ST. PAUL -- A Red Lake man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to one count of involuntary manslaughter for striking and killing a pedestrian with his vehicle while intoxicated in August of last year.

Gordon Dean Johnson, 46, of Ponemah, admitted in his plea agreement that Kaishauna Thunder died after he struck her with his vehicle in a drunken driving accident, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Thunder was walking along U.S. Highway 1 in the early morning hours of Aug. 19 when she was hit by Johnson.

Johnson faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison.


Gun used in murder-suicide

BAGLEY, Minn. -- Jack Gerbracht, and his mother, Darlene Gerbracht, died of gunshot wounds, according to autopsy results released Monday by Bagley Police Chief Larry Peterson.

In a release, Peterson classified the deaths as a murder-suicide and said the investigation will continue.

Police were called to Darlene Gerbracht's home in Bagley on the night of April 22. There, they found the pair, dead of gunshot wounds.