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FLORIDA: Plane crash kills family of 6

A Kansas businessman, his wife and their four children were killed Thursday when their small plane crashed in a swampy area of central Florida. The single-turboprop, fixed-wing plane was heading home to Junction City, Kan., from the Bahamas when it broke apart and went down in the Tiger Creek Preserve, the Polk County sheriff's office said. Parts of the plane were found nearly 3 1/2 miles away. Ron Bramlage, 45, who owned Roadside Ventures LLC, was piloting the 2006 Pilatus Pc-12/47. He, his wife, Rebecca, 43, and children Brandon, 15; Boston, 13; Beau, 11; and 8-year-old Roxanne, 8, were killed.

NORTH DAKOTA: Teddy's ranch endangered

The site of the Elkhorn Ranch in the badlands looks and feels much as it did when Theodore Roosevelt retreated there to raise cattle following the deaths of his wife and mother in 1884. The ranch is now part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but the sweeping views remain pristine and are a major draw for the more than half-a-million visitors to the park each year. That could soon change because of plans to develop adjacent land, including a gravel mine that would bring heavy machinery and roads to the site, said the former president's great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt. Thursday, in an effort to preserve the ranch, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named it one of America's most endangered places. Theodore Roosevelt lived only a short time in the area. He remarried two years later and settled into a new home he had built in Oyster Bay.

OREGON: Threat from organisms on dock

The arrival this week on a popular beach of a big section of dock from tsunami-ravaged northern Japan included hundreds of millions of individual organisms: a tiny species of crab, a species of algae, and a little starfish all native to Japan. Scientists are concerned that they could spread out on the West Coast. "This is a very clear threat," said John Chapman, a research scientist at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore. Volunteers scraped the dock clean of the organisms and sterilized it with torches Thursday to prevent the spread of invasive species, the state Department of Parks and Recreation said.

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