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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Two snowmobilers found dead on Lake Superior

From the Forum News Service


1 killed in plane crash

PARKERS PRAIRIE, Minn. - A rural Parkers Prairie man heard what sounded like a crop-spraying plane with engine trouble about 6:25 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a loud crash.

When Gayle Snook went out to investigate, he discovered the wreckage of a plane in some trees about 90 yards from his home.

Otter Tail County sheriff's officials on Thursday identified the victim as 41-year-old Adam Menze of Ottertail. He was alone in the plane.

Spokesman Tony Molinaro, of the Federal Aviation Administration Great Lakes Region, which is based in Chicago, said the plane went down about five miles north of Parkers Prairie in west-central Minnesota.

Snook said it appeared the plane had touched down and possibly bounced from a nearby snowy field about 60 yards from his house.

"I was wondering if he (the pilot) wasn't trying to get onto the road because he was having problems with the plane, mechanical problems, but I don't know," said Snook, who reported the badly damaged single-engine propeller plane to the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office.


Flight crew suspended for drinking

BEMIDJI, Minn. - A SkyWest Airlines co-pilot and flight attendant have been suspended without pay after police discovered alcohol in their system before their flight was scheduled to leave Bemidji Thursday morning.

Police were called to Bemidji Regional Airport at 5:19 a.m. Thursday after a passenger and Transportation Safety Administration staff noticed signs of alcohol consumption by the three-person flight staff, according to a police incident report. All three submitted to a breathalyzer test.

The flight captain had no alcohol in his system, according to the police report. The co-pilot had .035 percent blood-alcohol content level and the flight attendant had a .025.

It is illegal to operate an aircraft in Minnesota if the person's BAC is .04 or higher during operation or within two hours within attempted operation, according to state statute. It is also illegal to operate an aircraft within eight hours of consuming alcohol.

No member of the flight staff was arrested, but the report was forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration.


Two charged with ineligible voting

CARLTON, Minn. -- Two women are facing charges of voting while ineligible in Carlton County. Anna Nicole Nelson, 27, of Carlton, and Shawn Marie Kaarbo, 48, of Cloquet, were charged Feb. 13 after a records search determined that neither has yet had her civil rights restored after felony convictions.

Nelson was convicted of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance in St. Louis County Court in May 2012, and Kaarbo (also known as Shawn Marie Melton and Shawn Marie Strandberg) was convicted of first-degree assault in Carlton County in June 2010. Both are still on probation.

According to the complaints filed in the cases, both women cast votes in the November 2012 general election at a polling place in Carlton. Prior to voting, they both completed Minnesota voter registration applications, signed a certification indicating they were eligible to vote and put their signatures on the voter rolls at their respective polling places.

It wasn't until a couple of weeks after the election that they were found to have been ineligible to vote.


Snow causes brief derailment

HANCOCK, Minn. -- Two Burlington Northern Santa Fe train engines went off the tracks in Hancock on Wednesday evening while trying to clear snow.

The derailment happened at the crossing of Main Street and Sixth Street in downtown Hancock, which is in Stevens County in west-central Minnesota.

R.J. Corman Derailment Services arrived soon after with trucks loaded with special equipment used to put the two engines back on the tracks. The company was in the area responding to a derailment in Benson and were quick to the scene, officials reported.

The tracks were cleared by 9 p.m.

North Dakota

Fargo at greatest risk of Red River flooding this spring

FARGO - Recent snowfall has significantly increased the chances of major flooding on the Red River here, from 6 percent last month to 79 percent in the latest flood outlook released Thursday by the National Weather Service.

Major flood stage in Fargo is 30 feet. There's a 50 percent chance the river will reach 33.2 feet, a 25 percent chance it will hit 35.1 feet and a 5 percent chance of 37.8 feet, the outlook states.

Fargo's record flood crest is 40.84 feet on March 28, 2009.

The Red River at Wahpeton has a 64 percent chance of major flooding. The next greatest chance for major flooding along the Red is in Pembina, at 40 percent.


N.D. AG accuses medical alert firm of fraud

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota attorney general's office said Thursday that it has issued a cease and desist order against a business selling medical alert systems.

Michael Hilgar of Florida, Elite Information Solutions and Worldwide Info Services are accused of violating the state's consumer fraud and do-not-call laws, and failing to respond to a civil investigative demand. Hilgar is president of both firms.

The telemarketing firms would call would-be customers, claim that they've been selected to receive a free medical alert device, but there is a monthly fee for the monitoring service. The callers would lie and say the device is affiliated with more well-known businesses, the attorney general's office said.

His office also say the firms call those on do-no-call lists, and use spoofing technology to display a 701 area-code to make people think they are located in North Dakota.

To submit a complaint: Consumer Protection Division, (701) 328-3404;


Last NDSU player sentenced in petition fraud case

FARGO - The final former North Dakota State University football player to be sentenced for faking names on ballot initiative petitions last year avoided a two-day jail stint Thursday.

Don Carter, 21, was one of thirteen current or former Bison players who pleaded guilty to one count of petition fraud, a Class A misdemeanor. The players, along with two others also charged, were accused of faking signatures on petitions seeking to put two measures up for a statewide vote in November.

The measures concerned the legalization of marijuana for medical use and the establishment of an outdoor heritage fund. Because of the faked petitions, neither measure failed to make it on the ballot.

Cass County prosecutor Cherie Clark asked that Carter be sentenced to two days in jail, in addition to the deferred imposition of sentence, 360 days of unsupervised probation, 50 hours of community service, a $325 in fees that the other defendants received.

Clark said the state asked for jail time because Carter has a history of unrelated misdemeanors.

Cass County District Court Judge Wick Corwin chose instead to give Carter the same sentence as others in the case.

Of the 15 people charged with misdemeanor petition fraud, only one defendant's case is still pending. William Brown, who has pleaded not guilty, is set for a hearing Wednesday.


Alleged shoplifting leads to chase in GF

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- An alleged shoplifting in Grand Forks led to a car chase and then a foot chase before police were able to arrest the suspect Thursday, the police department said.

Steven Robert Schubert, 27, Williston, is expected to be charged with possessing stolen property and drug paraphernalia, driving while under suspension, fleeing police in a vehicle and on foot, and leaving the scene of an accident, according to a Grand Forks Police news release.

About 1 p.m., officers responded to a report that a shoplifter had left Famous Footwear off 32nd Avenue South in a white pickup. Police spotted the pickup nearby and gave chase. It ended at the 1800 block of 30th Avenue South when the pickup plowed into a van, causing "severe damage," the release said.

Schubert, the driver, and another male in the pickup ran away. Officers spotted Schubert a short time later on 28th Avenue South, chased him down and arrested him.


Fargo woman faces 2nd child molesting charge

FARGO - A Fargo woman charged earlier this month with gross sexual imposition against a 14-year-old boy in 1997 is now charged with another count of gross sexual imposition, this time against a boy who is 15 or 16.

According to documents filed Wednesday in Cass County District Court, the alleged victim told police that Carrie Jean Berg, 38, molested him about once a month starting from the time he was 10 years old and continuing up until investigators interviewed him on Jan. 14.

When questioned by police, Berg denied ever touching the victim inappropriately or having the victim touch her.

A prior gross sexual imposition case filed against Berg claims a DNA test showed the victim in that case, who is now 29 or 30, fathered a child of Berg's. Documents in that case say Berg reported in 1997 that the then-14-year-old boy sexually assaulted her.


Cramer to host guns, violence forum in Fargo

FARGO - Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., will host his first "American Issues Forum" from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. today in Fargo.

The event will feature local law enforcement, mental health, clergy and education officials discussing guns, violence and culture.

The forum is open to the public and will be at the Fargo Doublewood Inn and Conference Center, 3333 13th Ave. S.



Two snowmobilers found dead on Lake Superior

BAYFIELD, Wis. -- Authorities found the bodies of two snowmobilers Thursday after who went missing while headed to an island on Lake Superior .

Ashland County Sheriff Mick Brennan said an Ashland County man was found on the ice near open water Thursday morning, without a pulse and not breathing. Efforts to revive the man, in his 30s, failed, Brennan said.

A second victim was found later in the day.

Brennan said the two men last were seen leaving Bayfield about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and were apparently on their way to LaPointe on Madeline Island. Both men were reported overdue and missing at 9:30 a.m. LaPointe Fire Department officials found the snowmobile and one man just before 10 a.m., Brennan said.

The accident happened close to the same place where a snowmobiler died Jan. 26 when his sled went through the ice or into open water. Over-ice transportation is common between the mainland and Madeline Island in winter, including by cars, trucks, snowmobile and fan-powered air sleds. But the area can have rapidly changing ice conditions, officials note.