Many questions remain in regard to Bismarck Air Medical Plane crash that killed three people, despite the ground investigation by Morton County Sheriff’s Office being completed. The National Transportation Board is continuing to look for answers as to what caused the crash that claimed the lives of pilot Todd Lasky, nurse Bonnie Cook and paramedic Chris Iverson. According to Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, it is believed the crew members died from blunt force trauma injuries, the airplane broke apart about 12,000 feet above ground, it was not struck by anything, there was no fire, and weather is not believed to have been a factor. Kirchmeier said he expects it will be six months to a year before the NTSB completes its investigation.
MANDAN, N.D. (AP) – A gas leak at the Marathon Petroleum oil refinery in Mandan prompted a brief evacuation of some workers. Spokesman Ron Day says operators detected a pinhole leak in a processing unit that released a propane-type gas about 10:40 a.m. Thursday. All refinery personnel deemed non-essential went to a designated safe area for about 20 minutes. Day says no one was hurt or exposed to the gas.
FARGO, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota’s winter wheat crop appears to be in decent shape, and farmers are continuing to make progress on the late-season harvest. The federal Agriculture Department in its weekly crop report says about two-thirds of the winter wheat is in good to excellent shape, with another quarter rated fair. The report says 94 percent of soybeans, 80 percent of sunflowers and 80 percent of corn is harvested.
TWIN BUTTES, N.D. (AP) – A woman convicted of embezzling from a school district on the Fort Berthold Reservation has been elected to its school board. Melissa Starr received 35 write-in votes to win a seat on the Twin Buttes board in a special election Tuesday. Starr pleaded guilty in 2007 to embezzlement and theft and was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The North Dakota Geological Survey is expanding its well-received fossil dig program in 2019. The Bismarck Tribune reports that after attracting people from 31 states last year, North Dakota fossil scientists plan to spend 46 days in the field next year to help people find prehistoric fossils. The expansion of public fossil digs has become a chief source for providing new fossils to the state fossil collection.