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Minn. roundup: Woman, 19, dies in skiing accident after striking tree

Minn. woman, 19, dies in skiing accident after striking tree

WABASHA, Minn.—A 19-year-old Minnesota woman is dead following an accident at a ski resort in southeastern Minnesota Saturday, Jan. 20, according to KTTC-TV.

Bethany Becker, of Corcoran, Minn., hit a tree after failing to make a turn toward the bottom of a ski slope at Coffee Mill Ski Area in Wabasha, according to police.

An ambulance crew arrived on scene and transported Becker to Mayo Clinic-Saint Marys and met the Mayo One helicopter at Plainview along the way.

Wabasha Police Chief Joe Stark said he believes Becker died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Stark said his officers on scene informed him that Becker was a novice skier and had been attempting a downhill run on one of the more advanced slopes.

The Coffee Mill Ski Resort is in Wabasha, about 90 miles southeast of Minneapolis near the Wisconsin border.

Ex-postal carrier sentenced for stealing mail in Moorhead

MOORHEAD, Minn. — A former postal carrier was sentenced to 30 days of home monitoring and three years of supervised probation Monday, Jan. 22, for charges stemming from claims she stole a gift card, cash and check from mail on her route.

Sarah Elizabeth Shanebeck, 31, of Fargo, was also ordered to pay a fee of $1,000 and restitution of $86 at the sentencing hearing in Clay County District Court.

Shanebeck originally pleaded not guilty in September to three felony charges of mail theft. As part of a plea agreement, Shanebeck changed her plea to guilty for one of the charges last month. In exchange, the other two were dismissed.

If she successfully completes her probation, she may escape a conviction in the case.

According to court documents, a Moorhead resident contacted police in January 2017 to report a $50 Walmart gift card she put in the mail for pickup didn't reach its intended recipient. That resident told authorities the same thing happened with a birthday card containing $5 and a birthday card with a $25 check.

Police checked surveillance video from the Walmart store where that gift card was used and determined Shanebeck had used it. Shanebeck was assigned to the victim's mail route in Moorhead, court documents stated.

The U.S. Postal Service then placed mail in Shanebeck's route containing gift cards from Target and Walmart that were supposed to be delivered to the victim of the original theft. Instead, Shanebeck used the gift cards to make online purchases, court documents stated.

Part of Paul Bunyan State Trail to be closed for repairs

BEMIDJI, Minn.—The Paul Bunyan State Trail bridge over the Mississippi River on the east side of Lake Bemidji will be closed this summer for repairs.

The 115-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail extends from Crow Wing State Park to Lake Bemidji State Park. It is the longest Minnesota state trail and the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the country.

The bridge will be closed July 9 through the end of August, according to a press release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Parks and Trails Division of the DNR will replace the deck, railing and certain substructure elements on the bridge, the release said.

Dave Schotzko, area supervisor for the Parks and Trails Division in Bemidji, said in the release that although the bridge remains structurally sound for recreational use, the current 2,000-pound weight limit prevents access to the Paul Bunyan State Trail by emergency and trail maintenance equipment.

The release said that while repairs are made, the trail will be closed at the bridge and that there is not a safe option for an alternate route.