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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: NTSB still investigating Sauk Rapids plane crash

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. - The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report into the plane crash that killed two people and destroyed a Sauk Rapids home one week ago today. 

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The report does not list a cause of the crash that killed the pilot, 60-year-old Scott Olson, and passenger, 16-year-old Alexander Voigt.  Voigt was a foreign exchange student from Germany who had been in St. Cloud for about 10 months.  The report states Olson was flying an experimental airplane and was operating without a flight plan which is normal for that type of flight.  The NTSB report shows Olson took off from St. Cloud Regional Airport at 8:10 p.m. and crashed into the home 24 minutes later.  A final report on the crash isn't expected for several weeks.

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Members of Minnesota's congressional delegation have introduce a bill to honor the late Congressman James Oberstar.  The legislation would rename the Chisholm post office and parts of Highways 35 and 61 in memory of Oberstar.  He served 18 terms in the U.S. House and died last month at age 79.  Oberstar chaired the transportation committee and successfully pushed for the National Scenic Byways Program.  U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) said "his fingerprints can be found on countless roads and bridges in Minnesota and across the country, but it's only fitting that his work be memorialized in northern Minnesota - the place he called home." 

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A Willmar teen is facing charges after allegedly stabbing his grandmother several times Thursday.  Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt says some people from the neighborhood called in that a woman had appeared on their front steps and was bleeding and appeared to have been stabbed.  Officers responded and found the 64-year-old woman.  Maria Garcia was airlifted to a Twin Cities hospital.  Her current condition is not known.  Garcia's grandson was arrested without incident.  Another teen, 18-year-old Robert Warwick, also of Willmar, is expected to plead guilty next week to charges connected to the murder of his grandmother, Lila Warwick, last July.

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A Sartell man drowned Thursday afternoon while swimming on Clearwater Lake in Crow Wing County.  The 44-year-old and a group of people on a pontoon stopped to go swimming and he went into the water but did not resurface.  The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office Dive Team recovered the man's body in 20 feet of water three-and-a-half hours later.  The victim's name has not been released.  His body was taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner.  Foul play is not suspected. 

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A Menagha man accused of killing a Park Rapids woman has withdrawn his guilty plea.  21-year-old Harley Leritz is charged with second-degree murder for the death of 19-year-old Kiela Knowles.  In February, Knowles' father found her unresponsive and unclothed in her apartment building.  Leritz earlier admitted to having sex with Knowles and then choking her to death.  The two had been corresponding on-line and met in person for the first time when he allegedly killed her.  No reason was given by the defense attorney on why Leritz changed his plea. A trial will now be set when the two sides meet again next week.  Leritz remains jailed on $1.5-million dollars bail.

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A "no barking" ordinance has riled some dog owners in Wadena.  The ordinance prohibits dogs in some parts of the community from barking or making noise from 4:00pm to 9:00am.  The "no barking" ordinance applies to commercial zones and includes the Humane Society and surrounding neighborhood.  The City Council is also asking the Humane Society to construct a higher fence around its property so dogs would be less likely to bark at their surroundings.

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