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MINNESOTA NEWS: Crash claims fifth life ... Man dies of pond plunge ... Train crash victim ID'd ... more

Accident claims its fifth life A fifth person has died after a Memorial Day weekend crash in Olmsted County. Officials said Carter Newell, 2, Rochester, has died. The child had been in critical condition since the May 23 crash at Minnesota Highwa...

Accident claims its fifth life

A fifth person has died after a Memorial Day weekend crash in Olmsted County.

Officials said Carter Newell, 2, Rochester, has died. The child had been in critical condition since the May 23 crash at Minnesota Highway 30 and U.S. Highway 63.

Christopher Frisch, 25, Winona, has been charged with 24 felonies, including criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation while under the influence of alcohol.

Police said Frisch drank beer at a Memorial Day weekend gathering before falling asleep at the wheel, going through a stop sign and hitting a van carrying six people.


Carter's mother, Heidi Newell, 19, Rochester, was among the four others who died.

Frisch was not hurt in the crash.

Man dies of pond plunge

A Princeton man whose pickup truck plunged into a holding pond in Wright County has died.

The man, Lance Osterkamp, 64, was airlifted from the crash Friday off Highway 101 in Ostego and taken to North Memorial Hospital. Hospital spokesman Robert Prevost said Osterkamp died Saturday afternoon.

Witnesses saw Osterkamp's pickup veer back and forth across the highway early Friday morning, then veer off the road, through a fence and into the pond.

Two bystanders jumped into the pond and tried in vain to free Osterkamp from his truck. He was submerged in 8 to 10 feet of water.

Within a few minutes a truck with a boom crane passed by, and the driver used the crane to pull the truck out of the water.


Train collision victim ID'd

A Perham man killed when a train struck his pickup truck has been identified as Larry Brewer, 67.

Otter Tail County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Boen said Brewer's pickup truck was struck about 6 a.m. Friday on a private drive not marked by signs or signals.

Police have said Brewer was going to pick up a friend for work and didn't see the freight train.

The friend, Joshua Walczesky, said Brewer was a good man who will be missed.

Suspect talks on police radio

Officers searching for a man who had threatened a relative with a knife were startled to hear his voice coming over their law-enforcement radio.

The man asked, "What do you intend to do with Jeremy Winkel -- take him to the hospital or jail?"


Mower County deputies said the rural Lyle man radioed them after stealing a squad car belonging to an Austin police officer who was on foot, using a police dog to help in the search.

A criminal complaint said deputies chased Winkel for about 38 miles through Minnesota and Iowa before he surrendered in Northwood, Iowa.

Winkel has been in custody in Worth County, Iowa, since his arrest May 21. He has been charged in Mower County with four felonies, including fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle.

Hazmat site to be a park

After years of work, cleanup of a hazardous materials site in Swift Falls is nearly complete, and local officials are preparing to turn the three-acre site into a park. One local resident said the transformation of the Midwest Cylinder site has been so great, it is now like a "diamond in the rough."

Swift County just has to contain about seven yards of lead-contaminated soil at the site before it can receive an all clear from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The site will then become part of the county's 100-acre park located on the other side of the road along the Chippewa River.

"It's a thousand times better," Scott Collins, director of Swift County Environmental Services said of the land. "Ten years ago, I never thought it would happen."


Midwest Cylinder was a business where thousands of old liquid propane tanks were being stored and refurbished. Back in 1999, about 100 county residents signed a petition asking the company to clean up its property. At that time, thousands of rusty 20- to 100-pound liquid propane cylinders were stacked on top of each other in rows, and more were stashed in a grove of nearby trees.

The smell of mercaptan, released when the cylinders were vented, often hung over the river, the village and the park downstream.

"It was disgusting," said Paige Amundson, a resident who signed the petition. "It was a mess."

Then, in September 2002, a fire tore through the business.

After some haggling, the company eventually removed all the cylinders and the county purchased the land for $13,000 in 2004. With the help of state grants, everything down to the contaminated soil was removed, and newly planted grass is growing.

Study of Lake Superior set

A group of researchers will embark on a voyage next week to drop off measurement equipment in Lake Superior.

Professor Jay Austin and other researchers at the University of Minnesota in Duluth plan to collect data on temperature and circulation to determine whether the lake is changing.


A similar study in 2007 showed that Lake Superior's summer surface temperatures had increased more than 4 degrees since 1979. That's compared with a 2.7-degree increase in the region's average summer air temperature.

The research team embarks Tuesday on what will be a seven-day trip to set up eight moorings in Lake Superior.

A $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation is paying for the study.

Strib, Teamsters talking

The Star Tribune and the Teamsters continue talking as a bankruptcy court hearing nears on the newspaper's move to reject its contract with unionized drivers.

A Star Tribune spokesman said the drivers have authorized a strike if the court throws out the contract and the paper implements the terms of its last offer.

The Star Tribune wants to cut labor costs by $20 million a year as it prepares to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The delivery truck drivers' union is the last major bargaining unit that hasn't agreed to concessions.

A Teamsters local spokesman didn't immediately return a call for comment. The union has until Monday to respond to the motion. A hearing is set for June 9.


The Star Tribune filed for bankruptcy in January.

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