Williston, ND (KEYZ) Williston police are investigating the workplace accident Wednesday morning that killed a 69-year-old construction worker at a work site near the intersection of 26th Street West and 18th Street West.
Lt. Detective Amy Nickoloff of the Williston Police Department tells News Radio that the victim suffered multiple injuries after he was struck by a gravel truck, and was pronounced dead moments later at CHI Alexius Health Medical Center. His identity is withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The dead man was part of a crew working on the expansion of the Life Church Assembly of God and its adjacent parking lot. More details are expected Thursday as the investigation progresses.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota House has passed a package of gun-rights measures, including a so-called "constitutional carry" bill that would allow most people 21 and older to carry concealed firearms without a permit.
The House on Tuesday also approved a measure that allows carrying a gun in church if the church allows it. Another measure approved would allow firearms in schools for trained and permitted "armed responders."
The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
Representatives killed two gun measures on Tuesday. One would have allowed people with concealed carry permits to have firearms in government buildings. The other would have exempted North Dakota-made firearms, ammunition and accessories from federal regulation.
Cannon Ball ND (KEYZ) The Army Corps of Engineers' plan to close a Dakota Access pipeline protest camp isn't likely to end on-the-ground opposition in North Dakota. It also may not spell the end of heavy law enforcement presence near where the developer is finishing the last big section of the pipeline.
Officials cite safety concerns over the cold and environmental concerns over the garbage in the camp. Activists say the pipeline is a far greater danger to the environment. Richard Fisher was still at the camp on Tuesday and says he has no fear.
"If they have to take me by force, that's what they are going to have to do," says Fisher. Fisher went on to say being taken into custody doesn't scare him as much as the pipeline.
"What scares me the most is the oil moving through that pipeline and ruining future generations.
Phillis Bald Eagle was still at the camp on Tuesday. "The more we destroy mother earth as human beings how long are we going to last on this mother earth? How long are we going to be here.", she asks.
The Corps' has given protesters until 2 p.m. Wednesday to leave. One protester says many will go to new camps on private land.
Texas-based developer Energy Transfer partners says in a court filing that oil could begin flowing through the more than one thousand mile pipeline as early as March 6th, beating previous estimates. The court filing is part of legal battles between the company, and two tribes fighting to halt construction.
Bismarck, ND (KEYZ) State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler says North Dakota has teacher shortfalls in 14 subjects. “We have a number of teacher shortages across our state, and we've determined that it is hitting our rural and smaller school districts the hardest.”
But if you are a teacher or are studying to become one, North Dakota's deficient numbers could work to your advantage. Baesler’s finding makes instructors who teach those subjects eligible for breaks on their federal student loans.
“One of the solutions we developed as a group was to provide loan forgiveness for students who graduate with a teaching degree and choose to teach in one of our small rural school districts,” says Baesler.
The Legislature is also debating two teacher loan relief bills. One is targeted for all North Dakota teachers who have student loan debt. It has a benefit of up to six thousand dollars. The other is aimed at new teachers who are taking jobs in rural school districts. New rural teachers could qualify for up to 25-thousand dollars worth of student loan forgiveness over three years.
Baesler put together a task force to come up with ideas on how to relieve North Dakota’s teacher shortage. She says offering student loan incentives is one way to attract North Dakotans to the teaching profession." Some school districts have ended offering certain courses because they could not find any teachers to teach them, class sizes are growing larger, and this shortage has significantly impacted the operations of some schools," she says.
The shortage areas include economics and the free enterprise system, computer education, driver and traffic safety education, agriculture, as well as the core subjects as science, math, English, music and physical education.
BISMARCK, ND (KEYZ) – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler says a bill in the Legislature will help North Dakota schools propose innovative ways to teach and learn.
Baesler says the bill encourages schools to plan innovative education projects. She says there are some obstacles to innovation in state law – and the bill would help schools avoid those barriers.
“There is a tremendous amount, compare that to the traditional model.” The measure is Senate Bill 2186. It got unanimous approval in the Senate. Still, schools would need to get board approval and community support. Baesler says the idea is to monitor the results of innovation projects – and share results with other schools.
“What this legislation does is provide better results for the same amount of money.”
And it's not a bad thing that the head of the teachers union, North Dakota United's Nick Archuleta is on board.
“It is going to really unleash the teachers and our students. Innovation is going on right now, an it will allow that creativity to flow.”
The North Dakota House is expected to take up the bill soon.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The state Health Department estimates that five out of every 1,000 North Dakotans will use medical marijuana when it's available, and the agency has built a budget around that.
Voters in November backed a measure that allows patients to use marijuana with a qualifying medical condition. Republican and Democratic leaders are sponsoring a bill that establishes rules for the oversight of medical marijuana.
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted to approve a little more than $1 million to oversee the medical marijuana program over the next two years.
Deputy State Health Officer Arvy Smith says the state does not expect any revenue from medical marijuana this year while the program is being established. She says the agency expects the program to be funded by user fees after that.
Williston, ND (KEYZ) When Williston's airport relocates to its new site in 2 years or so that is going to leave a massive hole, about 800 acres in size where Sloulin Field is -- what to do with all that space?
The City of Williston wants input from its citizens. City Administrator David Tuan says it's a rare opportunity to put your stamp on the city!
"It's really going to change the way people get around town and I think folks will really be excited to see the details of that tomorrow night. They can also provide some input on what other features they would like to see. Do they want to see more walking paths, do they want to see a more pedestrian friendly approach, or more along the lines of community use and convention space," says Tuan.
The first of three town halls to gather that input is tomorrow night starting at six at the Williston ARC.
While oil and gas markets may have been slow to wake up from hibernation during the early months of 2017, the northwest region, by contrast, has been bustling with activity.
Despite all of this activity (and maintaining long hours in the office to keep up!), we sometimes forget to stop and breathe for a moment, in order to share updates and news with our partners outside of the region. And while I’m always inclined to lead with our successes, sometimes the sales pitch tactic gets old and people just want to know the bottom line: what’s really happening and where are we headed.
With that in mind, I’m here to tell you that for better or worse, we have one heck of a season ahead of us in the northwest. The oil and gas industry appears to be gearing up for a busier year than anticipated and we couldn’t be happier. We continue our discussions with our Federal Congressional delegation to deliver the annual FAA grants as planned, and our State Legislators are working to continue the commitment the 2015 Legislature provided to complete State funding as planned as well. The redevelopment of our existing airport site, Sloulin Field, is now a longer-term development plan due to the downturn in the market and slower growth. Furthermore, the staffing situation at Sloulin Field has changed with the departure of our Airport Director. And as if that wasn’t enough, on top of it all (literally…), we have a snowy, sloppy mess about town and at our construction site that will make a quick spring start challenging at best.
Not much of a sales pitch, right? But, wait, there’s more! In all seriousness, we have a stacked deck and getting through 2017 will not be easy. But, if there’s one thing I love about North Dakota, it’s the down-to-earth resiliency of the people. Whether it’s snow, flood, economics, politics or permits, we never seem to dwell, but instead band together and develop solutions that ultimately determine our success. North Dakotans will always find a way!
And the City of Williston is no exception. We’ve formed strong partnerships with the ND Aeronautics Commission, the FAA, state legislators, consultants and others to work together in finding financial solutions for XWA during these difficult times. We’re optimistic we’ll remain on schedule and on budget with our project priorities this spring and with substantial completion in 2019. In fact, we’re honored to be hosting Governor Burgum, Lieutenant Governor Sanford, and their staff in Williston next Tuesday to tour the XWA construction site and discuss strategies for the future redevelopment of the 850 acre Sloulin Field site.
In hopes of maximizing the construction season, the City of Williston has made great progress towards moving dirt, building roads, and rerouting utilities at XWA. Land has been acquired, many permit reviews and regulatory hurdles have been negotiated and contracts for construction have been awarded to North Dakota firms eager to go to work as soon as the snow melts. Construction and engineering firms, excited to participate in the largest infrastructure project in the history of our city, are lined up out the door for an opportunity to join the team.
Our airport operations staff have stepped up to the plate admirably, strengthened relationships with stakeholders and taken on the responsibility of maintaining our commitment to providing great air service to our region.
So, despite the unexpected twists and turns that life seems to throw at us, the future continues to shine bright for North Dakota and the Bakken in particular. Perhaps that’s a bit of a sales pitch after all, but I truly believe in where we’re going. And as long as we can rely on the continued support and commitment from our resilient partners throughout the state, I’m certain our success will be all but guaranteed.
For further information, frequently asked questions and updates on the Williston Basin International Airport project, please see our website at http://xwaproject.com/
A group that aims to preserve the area's western heritage is hoping to round up more interest.
The M-T Saddle Club was established in Williston in 1955 and is still going strong today. Even though their biggest event of the year isn't until August, the club's Kendall Hofer tells News Radio the youth rodeo committee is looking to get sponsors and raise money for the event now:
"This rodeo has grown every year. The M-T Saddle Club is outgrowing us. We're an old club, but we're not a huge club. So, what we need is more help."
Hofer says sponsorships would help the club pay for mini bulls and horses, judges and arena upkeep. To find out more, visit online at www.mtsaddleclub.com
Cannon Ball ND (KEYZ) North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signs an emergency evacuation order for all remaining Dakota Access protesters to immediately get out and make way for urgent clean up efforts that may start as early as today.
For weeks now, North Dakotans have been stunned by the vivid images of earth movers scooping up hundreds of tons of garbage and debris left by some 7000 thousand protesters who gathered in Morton County for months now. Burgum says the state is willing to help clean up a camp on federal land out of fear the camp will soon flood and wash tons of debris into nearby waterways.
Senator John Hoeven says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have a crew on site by the end of the week to assist. "And they have committed to get contractors working at the protest site by the end of this week to help with the cleanup. The tribes started that effort, but they need help to make sure the debris doesn't get washed into the river, as the melting and flooding starts," says Hoeven.
The Standing Rock Sioux began coordinating a cleanup in late January, but state and federal officials say it isn't going fast enough, and they're stepping in to help out.
Minot, (AP) Authorities have arrested a 26-year-old Watford City man accused of trying to lure a girl online.
The Ward County Sheriff's Department says an investigator assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children unit started an online conversation Tuesday with a man who said he wanted to meet a 16-year-old girl.
The deputy posed as a 16-year-old girl and agreed to the online conversation. Authorities say the conversation led to the defendant allegedly distributing pornographic information to what he thought was a 16-year-old girl.
Deputies traveled to Watford City on Wednesday and arrested the man. He is being held in the Ward County Jail on suspicion of luring a minor by electronic means, pending a court appearance.
Williston, ND (KEYZ) Williston Mayor Howard Klug says the state should find a way to live up to it's commitments when it comes to funding its' share of the new 250 Million dollar Williston international airport, following this weeks house vote killing an oil tax revenue distribution bill that included 40 million dollars for the airport.
Klug says all eyes will now be on the Senate to see what they will do with a similar bill down the line.
"We need to go over to the senate side and see what we can come up with. The funding will have to come from the 'Land Trust Budget'," says Klug, who sounded unfazed by the apparent reneging by the legislature on its funding promise...he tells news radio, he's been down this road before.
"Maybe it's not a renege it's more of a 'we'll wait and see' kind of thing, but anytime you 'wait and see' down there it's usually a renege, as you say," Klug summed up.
Klug plans to personally visit lawmakers along with an entourage of airport proponent in an effort to keep the project on schedule and fully funded.
"We're doing everything we can to figure out what steps we need to take, because we are all in this together, whether it's Dickinson, Watford City, Williston or Tioga. We've got our people working down there in Bismarck and we're all going back down there to see what exactly we can make out of this mess," he says.
House Bill 1366 is a blue print for distributing oil tax revenue back to oil patch cities, and included the airport funds, which represented the last portion of the state’s contribution to the $250 million project, which has already received $19 million from the state as part of an agreement to cover 25 percent of the costs. The vote was 37-54.
In custody after a near eight hour long stand off, 33 year old Jeremy Kessler of Crosby -- Still many questions remain as to why Kessler allegedly opened fire from his home with numerous weapons in his home just after 3 am yesterday morning in the north west corner of town, sparking a massive response from Divide, Burke and Williams County Sheriff's deputies, Border Patrol, BCI, Highway Patrol and Minot SWAT.
A negotiator finally talked Kessler into surrendering at about 11:15 Tuesday morning. Kessler maintained what looked to be a small arsenal at his home, as agents could be seen removing a number of rifles from the residence, along with what appeared to be ammunition boxes.
No one was injured, residents were told to shelter in place during the 8 hour ordeal, and the neighborhood near the water tower was sealed.
Kessler, in the meantime is cooling his heels at the Williams County Correctional Center this morning and could face a judge later today. Official charges have yet to be filed by the Divide County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Photo credit: Our Partners at ABC WDAY
A program aimed at encouraging children to read is growing in Williston and in need of more sponsors.
Dolly Parton's imagination Library began in 1995 to foster a love of reading in small children in her home county in Tennessee. Since then, it has grown to include not only books mailed to children in the U.S., but also Canada and the United Kingdom. Here in Williston, ND, the program is expanding and in need of your help. Kim Weismann is on the local Imagination Library Board:
"We are asking for individuals or families to consider sponsoring kids. It costs about twenty-five dollars per kid per year to get the twelve months of books."
Weismann tells News Radio in just a few short months, the number of kids registered for the books that are mailed out monthly has grown by one hundred, prompting the group to ask for the community's help:
"Just since December, we had about eight hundred kids in the community getting books monthly from Imagination Library. In March, we will be sending out over nine hundred books for that month. So, just in a few months, we've increased by over a hundred kids."
She says a donation of twenty-five dollars a year provides a child with one book per month. Community Businesses and individuals may get involved and sponsor a child by holding a fundraiser, making a donation to Williston Public School District One or contacting Kim Weismann at Williston State College.
Crosby Shooting Update: Shooter is in Custody, after surrendering to SWAT negotiator at about 11AM. No one was injured in the near 8 hour stand off that sparked the cordoning off of a north west neighborhood and lock-down of two schools. The lock-down has been lifted and there are no injuries. Sheriff's deputy Zach Schroeder tells News Radio, the suspect was a male resident of the house, and the sole occupant at the time of the stand off. We are awaiting more details from BCI and the Divide County Sheriff on the scene.
Crosby, ND (KEYZ) Divide County Sheriff's office is being assisted by Minot SWAT at a shooting incident this morning in the north west part of town that has prompted the lock down of two schools and warning to residents to stay away from the affected areas. Depute Zach Schroeder tells news radio, the shooting started before dawn.
"We have an isolated incident located at the north west corner of town. Minot SWAT has responded as well as all available officers in the area. It's a shots fired call in the residence at that location. The Crosby elementary and High School are on lock-down right now," says Schroeder.
Schroeder says the situation is fluid as of 8:30 am and still dangerous. "They (residents) should stay away from the north west corner of town by the water tower. They're fine to go to school, the school will keep them safe inside," he says.
All the businesses along Main street are fine says Schroeder. Stay tuned to 660 KEYZ News Radio for the latest updates. No word on any injuries.
Williston, (KEYZ) Williston Mayor Howard Klug confirms to News Radio, tonight's City Commission meeting will include a vote on accepting the resignation of longtime Williston Airport Director Steven Kjergaard, who after nearly seven years of managing Sloulin Field, and more recently spearheading the effort to break ground on the new 250 million dollar airport, north of the city, tendered his resignation Monday.
City Administrator David Tuan tells News Radio that Kjergaard did not disclose a specific reason for it, only that Kjergaard wanted to pursue other opportunities. So what's next?
"We have to evaluate the state of operations at the existing airport and make sure we have the right staffing levels to continue on seamlessly. We're very fortunate that the way things are set up with an assistant director so he is used to covering things when the Director is not there so it is kind of routine," says Tuan.
Tuan says he sees nothing preventing the City Commissioners from accepting the resignation tonight, since it is a mere formality. Tuan says there is no urgency in finding a replacement. "I will take stock of things, and after a month or so if we find out it's needed, we'll go from there," he says.
Although Kjergaard was highly visible in the promotion of the new facility, Tuan says his absence will have no effect on the new facility. "The project itself is still under the management team with our city staff, our owners reps, and the existing airport staff will continue to look after the operation.
Klug could not comment any further other than to say the action required a quorum at tonight's meeting. Under Kjergaard's stewardship, Sloulin Field experienced a 10-fold increase in passengers from 2008 to 2014, due in large part to oil activity.
A judge has rejected a request by two American Indian tribes to halt construction of the remaining section of the Dakota Access oil pipeline until their lawsuit over the project is resolved.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, in Washington, D.C., issued the ruling Monday.
The Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux requested the injunction last week after Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners got federal permission to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota.
More on a story we told you about last October, after a man was arrested at the Las Vegas motel bar following the discovery of over 160 thousand dollars worth of meth and heroin in his nearby hotel room.
Fifty-five year old Zachary Smith has since pleaded not guilty to two counts of distribution and one count each of conspiracy and other related charges in federal court in Bismarck.
The 55-year old Smith, and his unidentified cohorts are accused of funneling methamphetamine from other states to North Dakota and selling large amounts of it out of hotel rooms in Williston in 2015 and 2016.
Trial begins at the end of March.
Williston (KEYZ) What's in a name? A rose by any other would smell as sweet, but that is not the feeling we're getting from Rob Turner the Superintendent of Williston School District 8 which is pondering what name to give it's new 13 million dollar school approved last month -- he tells reporters he would like something suitable for both middle school and elementary school, since eventually the initial middle school will house an elementary school wing.
District 8 is set to break ground on the school this spring -- so far some names include a tribute to the late David Rockstad, a longtime board member who passed away in December. Turner says some suggestions include Northern Lights Country School or North Prairie County School.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota legislators will consider more than a dozen bills relating to guns as the first half of the current session winds down.
Among them is a proposal to allow carrying a concealed firearm in schools, if education officials allow it. The bill is aimed at rural schools without a school resource officer, since it takes law enforcement a while to respond to an emergency situation.
Republican Rep. Dwight Kiefert says that there are schools that are an hour away from help and the country isn't getting any safer. The Senate has killed a similar measure in the previous two legislative sessions.
Another House bill would make North Dakota a constitutional carry state, allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a government permit.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota House has rejected a measure that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The bill was defeated 69-22 on Friday, the latest defeat for an idea that's gone down three other times in recent years.
Fargo Democrat Josh Boschee is the state's first openly gay legislator and is the main sponsor of the legislation. Boschee and others say that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people fear they could lose their jobs or residences under current state law.
Opponents have argued it's unnecessary and could force businesses and religious organizations to go against their own convictions.
Gov. Doug Burgum supported the bill. He says everyone deserves to be treated equally, and the state needs to think about competing with other states for workers.
A Saltwater spill occurred in Williams County. The North Dakota Oil and Gas Division says a contained release happened Thursday at an oil and gas well about seven miles southeast of Williston.
Oasis Petroleum reported 300 barrels of saltwater was released and contained within on site diking after a valve froze and broke at the Carrier Federal well.
A state inspector will visit the site to monitor the clean-up.
Cannon Ball, ND (AP & KEYZ) The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, one of two tribes fighting the Dakota Access oil pipeline announces it has filed a legal challenge to try to block the project's completion, less than 24 hours after Energy Transfer Partners received word from the Army that is was cleared to complete the project.
Captain Ryan Hignight with the Army Corps of Engineers says last night at 6 pm eastern time, they granted an easement to the company so that it could finish off the massive 1,200 mile crude oil pipeline. "Which gives them the authority to legally drill under Lake Oahe - it's roughly one and a quarter mile underneath, to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline," says Hignight.
Energy Transfer Partners on Wednesday got final permission from the Army to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in Morton County. The project had been delayed for months before President Donald Trump last month instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to advance work on the pipeline.
It's unclear if the court will issue an injunction while it considers the tribe's argument to halt the work altogether.
Williston, (KEYZ) - Eight employees of the popular downtown Williston eatery Basil were taken into custody by ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) for expired VISAs, forcing the owner, Simon Chan to temporarily close the Chinese Japanese fusion venue last week.
Chan says officers with Homeland Security also went through the restaurants financial's, detaining two women and six men employed by Chan. ICE officials say four of those have been able to show valid working permits and were released, the remaining four remain in holding. Those detained are reportedly Mexican and Indonesian nationals and worked as servers, cooks and kitchen staff.
It's called "1 Million Cups," a grassroots program that supports early-stage business owners.
Williston Economic Development Executive Director Shawn Wenko tells News Radio he hopes the program will foster a supportive, welcoming space for entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face:
"If you're out there right now and you have a business idea, I want you to understand that there's no such thing as a stupid question . . . there's no such thing as a stupid idea. We want to make sure that people have the options to get around their peers in this network."
Wenko adds: "What I see in the community is there's a lot of business ideas and a lot of those ideas don't make it to the office because a lot of entrepreneurs don't know how to take that next step or who could answer their questions. So, we want to start to foster business development within the community."
Wenko says each meeting will follow the same format, with two early-stage startups presenting their companies, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. And, of course, at each 1 Million Cups meeting, coffee and pastries will be provided. The first 1 Million Cups meeting will be held March 1st at 8:30am at Williston State College.
For more information, contact Shawn Wenko at email@example.com or 701-577-8110.
Williston (KEYZ) -- Two Alexander residents are hospitalized after their small car crashed into the side of a semi truck on Williams County Rd 42 at Hwy 2 Monday afternoon.
The highway patrol says a Volkswagen driven by 24 year old Zachary Walhstrom, was eastbound on US Highway 2, when it struck a Peterbuilt as it attempted to cross north across the highway.
Also injured was Walhstrom's passenger 56 year old Deborah Poole, both were taken to CHI St Alexius in Williston for treatment. The 63 year old driver of the semi, Fredric Elkins of Minot was uninjured.
EDGELEY, N.D. (AP) - Sheriff's officials say a man hunting coyotes in LaMoure County has died of an accidental shooting.
Sheriff Bob Fernandes says the man was with two others hunting northeast of Edgeley Tuesday. Fernandes says the 57-year-old man died at the scene. The sheriff says the victim is not from North Dakota and that the shooting does not appear to be suspicious.
The body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner in Bismarck.
LISBON, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota father has been convicted of killing his infant son.
A jury found Byron Whetsel guilty of child neglect and murder Tuesday following a 5-day trial in Ransom County.
Court documents say the Lisbon father squeezed his 2-month-old son, broke the child's ribs and neck and severely injured the infant's brain. A medical examiner concluded all of the injuries were caused by inflicted trauma.
Whetsel faces a possible sentence of life in prison without parole. A sentencing date has not been set.
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after Secretary of the Army Robert Speer informed him that the Army Corps of Engineers has notified Congress of its intent to issue an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“Today, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it has finished its review of the Dakota Access Pipeline project and intends to grant an easement no earlier than tomorrow afternoon. The easement will enable the company to complete the project. New energy infrastructure, like the Dakota Access Pipeline, is being built with the latest safeguards and technology.
“We will continue to work with the Corps, Department of Interior, Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to secure additional federal law enforcement resources to support state and local law enforcement. Also, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council has asked the protesters to leave the campsite on Corps land. Recently, we got additional Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers to assist at the protest site. We also secured Customs and Border Protection agents to assist state and local law enforcement and we are currently working to get more federal law enforcement assistance.
“Our nation needs new energy infrastructure, which means we must have a process to build safe, efficient and environmentally sound projects like pipelines and power lines. Going forward, we need to review the permitting process to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be heard and that a fair, certain, and legal process has been followed. The discord we have seen regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline doesn’t serve the tribe, the company, the Corps or any of the other stakeholders involved. Now, we all need to work together to ensure people and communities rebuild trust and peacefully resolve their differences.”
Watford City's Police Chief resigns following a recent suspension. Chief Arthur Walgren had been suspended for two weeks prior to his sudden resignation Sunday.
Action was taken against the chief according to City Auditor Penny Peterson for sending an inappropriate email, the content of which has not been disclosed.
"The personnel committee has recommended that the interim Chief shall be Shawn Daubel, he is a captain with the squad. So he will take over that position until we advertise for the position," says Peterson.
She says the city is already in a transition of moving to a new law enforcement center, so applications for the position will not be sought until early spring.
The 50 year truck driver from Florida pleads guilty to manslaughter in connection with last summers crash that killed a Noonan father and two of his three children outside Crosby.
William Koehler, who's recently relocated to Minot entered the plea to three charges of felony manslaughter during a hearing in Divide County Monday, avoiding a trial by jury. Koehler's trial was to start this week after his attorney successfully argued for a change of venue, due to the pre trial publicity in Divide County.
Prosecutors says Koehler was using a cell phone and travelling too fast for conditions when he smashed into a car being driven by Lesley Gunderson who had stopped to talk with a flagger in a construction zone. His two daughters, ages 2 and 8 were killed too. Gunderson's 4-year-old son was seriously injured in the crash.
Sentencing is scheduled May 1, when Koehler faces up to 30 years.
Tomorrow begin's the 64th Annual National Hard Spring Wheat Show at the Grand Williston Hotel!
Claire Keene with the Williston extension tells us it opens up with the first day dedicated to the annual bread fair involving hundreds of elementary aged students.
"That's an event for area 5th graders. We'll be working with over 400 of them, to teach them where wheat comes from, how much we grow here in North Dakota, and they even get a chance to make their own bread and take some dough home with them," says Keene.
Keene says things get going for producers on Wednesday.
"Wednesday kicks off at 7:30 am with a professional development opportunity, learning some communications skills. And then the program will move on to crop management. Then the afternoon will focus on weed control and soil management. Then topping things off will be a new event this year, Barley Variety discussion and Beer Tasting," says Keene.
Meadowlark Brewery of Sidney will be providing the beer. Thursday's session features the popular crop weather outlook, with Darryl Richardson of NDSU and keynote speaker Greg Ossett, grain marketing specialist at the University of Minnesota.
And of course there will be a chance to mingle and network with other farmers and producers from the region.
The North Dakota Legislature is marching toward its mid-session break. If there's one bill that could hang things up, it's the new rules being written to oversee the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law. Senator Rich Wardner explains why its taking time.
"We need to insure that the product is developed and distributed safely and securely. Remember it is still a restricted commodity as far as the Feds are concerned. We had to decriminalize it in the bill which in the initiated measure, that wasn't addressed," says Wardner.
He knows this weeks hearing will air many complaints, including confining the growing stations to only four state licensed facilities.
"So not everybody's going to get to grow it and that is one of the objections that I get on emails everyday. Everybody's upset because they can't grow four or five plants of marijuana if they are a qualified patient. So, that's one of the 'rubs' people will probably come in and testify against," says Wardner.
The 81-page bill is to be heard Wednesday in the Capitol's largest hearing room. Lawmakers have set a deadline of July 31 to make medical marijuana available, which has angered many proponents of the initiative which passed last November.
The first wave of a double punch snow storm, just missed Williston overnight, hitting mostly the northern counties in north Dakota, but Meteorologist Todd Hamilton tells us, the second round of snow is going to hit us square in the face later Monday and overnight Tuesday.
"The first shot of snow on Sunday night and early Monday, was mainly across the northern tier counties. The second shot of snow that is going to be coming through mainly this afternoon and tonight, and it will be farther south. The Williston area can expect probably three to five inches, anywhere from Williston up to Crosby.
Hamilton with the National Weather Service but we will catch one break. "Fortunately we're not going to have any real strong winds. So we could get a little patchy blowing snow late this afternoon and tonight but we're not expecting real strong winds, mainly just snow," he says.
Still the timing of the storm will have an effect on our morning and afternoon commutes -- slippery and icy roads, plus sharing the roads with plows and snow clearing equipment, so give yourself some extra time.
It's an issue that many are silently struggling with . . . pornography.
Fight the New Drug is a worldwide organization that aims to give people the opportunity to make an informed decision about porn by raising awareness on its harmful effects.
Valerie Goldade with Dakota Family Solutions tells News Radio many young people struggle with the issue and are too ashamed or embarrassed to reach out for help:
"There are more avenues for this to become an addictive situation in younger and younger kids' lives because of the internet and the different media venues that they have. Being a parent in this day and age with this issue is way more tricky than it used to be thirty years ago."
Valerie says a Fight the New Drug presentation happens Tuesday night at 7:00 at the Williston ARC. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit: www.fightthenewdrug.org or www.dakotafamilysolutions.org.
It won't be at least until the end of July, but when medical marijuana does become available in North Dakota, Williston is on the list of 8 dispensary cities in the state where it will be distributed.
Senate Majority leader Rich Wardner stressed that lawmakers are not trying to obstruct the will of the people who voted to make medical marijuana legal last November, but he said many potential issues were not addressed in the initiative, including decriminalizing pot, so patients are not falsely arrested; and then designing a tightly controlled and regulated growing and distribution network. Which includes, four licensed growing centers throughout the state and eight regional distribution centers.
"Probably being in the state's eight largest communities, like Williston, Dickinson, Minot, Bismarck, Jamestown, Devil's Lake, Grand Forks and Fargo. There we will have designated caregivers and they can have up to five patients each that they can deliver the medical marijuana to," says Wardner.
Other considerations says Warder, left out of the initiative were quality controls, making sure the appropriate amount of THC is in the medication and special formulas for minors such as marijuana rubbing oils. But primarily, since marijuana is still Federally illegal, the state must first decriminalize medical use marijuana.
"So if a patient is using medical marijuana legally, we need to ensure that he or she will not be charged with a criminal violation. So clarification of the language is one, number two, the desire for increased safety. This one is really critical. We have got to make sure it is safe and it has got the right amount of THC in it," says Wardner.
Wardner says all these considerations needed to be encased in a legal form to make the system work in an efficient and cost effective manner.
It's expected to be available at the end of July.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol identifies the dangerous suspect involved in a car theft, kidnapping, high speed chase and assault on officers as 23-year-old Daniel Michael Two Hearts.
Two Hearts allegedly fired three shots from a 9 mm handgun at pursuing officers after the car chase came to an end near Reynolds, North Dakota. It began just after 9:30 p.m. last night when a NDHP trooper attempted a traffic stop on a red Chevrolet pickup with excessively loud exhaust on I-29 at Grand Forks. The vehicle fled southbound on I-29 at approximately 100 mph. Just south of Exit 104 at Hillsboro, law enforcement successfully deployed tire spikes and flattened the tires of the fleeing vehicle. Upon stopping, Two Hearts exited and allegedly fired shots at the trooper. The trooper avoided being struck. No shots were fired by law enforcement. The suspect fled on foot. Two passengers in the vehicle were taken into custody without further incident.
While law enforcement was searching for the suspect on foot at approximately 11:04 p.m., a report was received of a stolen vehicle from Hillsboro with a baby inside. Law enforcement located the stolen vehicle northbound on County Road 81 and successfully deployed tire spikes, flattening its tires east of Reynolds. The driver fled on foot. The baby was located in the vehicle by officers, uninjured, and brought to safety. Methamphetamine was located inside the vehicle. Area residents were notified as the ground search was conducted. Between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., TwoHearts stole an additional vehicle, a silver 2005 Ford Taurus bearing North Dakota plates 679AOF. TwoHearts is at large and considered armed and dangerous. Citizens are asked to call 911 if they see anything or anyone suspicious. Do not approach the suspect.
Twenty year old Parker Landro, accused of sexually assaulting a woman last year in a rec area along side the Little Muddy River, gets his bond reduced.
Currently held at the Williams County Jail the Williston man had his 50 thousand dollar bond slashed to 35 thousand dollars, partially due to the fact he had cooperated with law enforcement during the initial investigation last fall, knowing full well he could be arrested and charged, and didn't flee the area.
He also had relatives, work colleagues and friends come out in support of his character. HE is charged with gross sexual imposition in the case of an 18 year old woman who says he forced himself on her while the two were sat in his car last June. The victim didn't report the incident until late August.
Landro is due back in court on April 6 for a preliminary hearing.
The search is on for a dangerous car theft suspect after an overnight high speed chase, involving a stolen vehicle, weapons, a foot chase and a baby near Grand Forks.
Just after 9:30 Thursday night, a NDHP trooper tried to stop a Chevy pickup with loud exhaust on I-29 at Grand Forks. The truck instead took off reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour. Officers used spike strips to end the chase near Hillsboro -- the suspect driver fled on foot, and two passengers were taken into custody.
While law enforcement was still searching for the suspect on foot at approximately 11:04 p.m., a report was received of a vehicle stolen from Hillsboro with a baby in it. . The baby was located in the vehicle by officers, uninjured, and brought to safety.
Numerous law enforcement agencies continue to actively search for this suspect east of Reynolds, believed to be armed and dangerous. Citizens are asked to call 911 if they see anything or anyone suspicious in this area.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Senior citizens are intervening in the Montana-Dakota Utilities proposed rate increase.
The American Association of Retired Persons says of the 80,000 residential customers served by the utility company in North Dakota, 61 percent are seniors who rely on Social Security for half or more of their income. AARP says a third live only on Social Security.
Montana-Dakota is proposing a 6.6 percent overall rate increase, but residential customers face a 9.9 percent hike. The proposal would raise fixed costs to nearly $20.
The AARP's filing to intervene gives it elevated status so members will be able to question the company directly during hearings and will receive filings along with Public Service Commission.
It was a cold and challenging fund-raising season, but the Christmas Campaign goal for the Williston Salvation Army was not only reached, it was surpassed this holiday season. A total of $267,403.74 was raised.
This year’s success was the result of volunteers and donors coming together to help raise funds for The Salvation Army to serve the needs of people in Williston and Williams County.
Bell ringers volunteered a total of 416 hours, raising nearly 34 thousand dollars at kettle locations around town. Generous supporters provided a $47,000 match December 22-23, which raised an additional $47,217.16.
In addition to the funds raised this holiday season, The Salvation Army served 1231 individuals and families with food, toys, clothing, and gifts this Christmas.
An American Indian activist who unsuccessfully ran for Congress last fall is among 74 Dakota Access pipeline opponents who were arrested in North Dakota after setting up camp on private land.
Formal charges are pending against Chase Iron Eyes, who's been helping organize opposition to the $3.8 billion pipeline the Standing Rock Sioux says threatens its drinking water. He didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Iron Eyes and others were arrested Wednesday after setting up camp on land that authorities say is owned by the pipeline developer. Protesters said they were peacefully assembling on land they believe rightfully belongs to American Indians.
The site was near the main protest camp that has existed for months on federal land, and still is home to several hundred people.
One truck driver is dead, a second injured after a semis and box truck slam head on into each other 20 miles north of Killdeer on hwy 22 in Dunn County.
The Hwy patrol says the driver of a 2017 Freightliner box truck was traveling southbound when he drifted across the center line hitting the north bound 2015 Freightliner semi just after 8 am Wednesday morning.
The surviving driver 61 year old Richard Perkerewicz of Washburn was transported to a St Alexius in Dickinson for treatment while the 51 year old driver from of the box truck was killed instantly, his id is pending notification of next of kin.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's House has changed its mind about killing a bill that repeals the state's longstanding Sunday business restrictions.
The bipartisan measure aimed at lifting the state's so-called blue laws was narrowly defeated 50-44 on Monday. Lawmakers looked at it again Tuesday and it passed 48-46.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws. Only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.
North Dakota residents can order alcohol at a restaurant or bar late Sunday morning but must wait until afternoon to go shopping because of the ban that's rooted in religious tradition.
The bill's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Pamela Anderson of Fargo, says reconsidering the idea was the "right thing to do."
The measure shifts to the Senate for consideration.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Acting Secretary of the Army has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with an easement necessary to complete the Dakota Access pipeline, according to Sen. John Hoeven.
Hoeven issued a statement Tuesday after he says Acting Army Secretary Robert Speer informed him of the decision. Hoeven said he also spoke with Vice President Mike Pence.
A spokesman for the U.S. Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday night. Hoeven spokesman Don Canton says that Speer’s move means the easement "isn’t quite issued yet, but they plan to approve it" within days.
The crossing under Lake Oahe, a wide section of the Missouri River in southern North Dakota, is the final big chunk of work on the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline to carry North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois. President Donald Trump on Jan. 24 called on the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider its December decision to withhold permission until more study is done on the crossing.
The company appears poised to begin drilling under the lake immediately. Workers have already drilled entry and exit holes for the Oahe crossing, and the company has put oil in the pipeline leading up to the lake in anticipation of finishing the project, its executive vice president Joey Mahmoud said in court documents filed earlier this month.
The walls are up and the steel is ordered for the construction of a building that is long overdue.
A new animal shelter is taking shape near Spring Lake Park in Williston.
Tom Rolfstad, President of Mondak Animal Rescue, gives News Radio an update on the progress of the new building:
"We've got the walls up and the steel ordered, which should be here probably about the middle of the month. So, we'll be working on getting the structural steel in and the roof on the building and insulated. Once we get it enclosed, then we can really go to town on finishing the building."
Rolfstad says Lois Scheele of Williston donated 5 million dollars to be used for construction of the 18,000 square foot shelter.
He says the new facility will rival anything in the area: "It's been an ongoing thing for some fifteen years with volunteers primarily to date. Now, we're kinda entering the big leagues. It'll probably be the nicest animal shelter between Billings and Fargo at least, if not Minneapolis."
Rolfstad says he's hoping construction of the Buck Scheele Family Animal Center will be wrapped up by this September, in time for the 19th annual Dog Jog at Spring Lake Park.
Due to the severity of complications from this year's flu, CHI St. Alexius Health in Williston is restricting visitation of patients to all units.
Those restrictions include: children under 12; immediate family members only. Immediate family members NOT vaccinated against the flu will be required to wear a mask.
The restrictions will remain in place until the flu threat has passed and returned to normal seasonal levels.
The National Transportation Safety Board will soon release the cause of a 2013 oil train derailment in eastern North Dakota.
The accident happened when a train carrying soybeans derailed in front of an oil tanker train near the small town of Casselton. It caused a series of explosions and the evacuation of hundreds of Casselton residents. No injuries were reported.
The incident contributed to a national discussion about the safety of moving oil by train.
NTSB investigators posted hundreds of pages of records on the derailment in 2015 and noted a broken train axle was found, but it wasn't pinpointed as a cause.
NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss says that results of the investigation should be released when the board meets next Tuesday.
North Dakota's House has killed a bill that would have repealed North Dakota's longstanding Sunday business restrictions.
The bipartisan measure aimed at lifting the state's so-called blue laws was narrowly defeated 50-44 on Monday.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws, but only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.
North Dakota residents can order alcohol at a restaurant or bar late Sunday morning but must wait until afternoon to go shopping because of the ban that's rooted in religious tradition.
North Dakota law once required most businesses to stay closed on Sundays. It was changed in 1985 to allow grocery stores to open.
The Legislature in 1991 allowed most businesses to open on Sundays but not before noon.
Omar Toure from Ohio gets 10 years behind bars for kidnapping his former fiancee at knife-point in Williston and driving her to Montana in 2015.
He appeared in court in Williston on Monday, where Northwest District Judge David Nelson, concerned over Toure's apparent lack of remorse, agreed with the prosecutor that a stiff sentence was warranted.
Toure was found guilty of kidnapping, aggravated assault and two counts each of terrorizing and reckless endangerment by a jury in October.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - A traveler accused of making a bomb threat at Grand Forks International Airport has been arrested on possible terror charges.
Police say officers were called to the airport Saturday after the man made the threats to airport employees. The man was traveling from Grand Forks to Minneapolis.
The airport was evacuated and a Grand Forks regional bomb squad checked the man's luggage. Investigators determined there was no further threat and the airport was re-opened. Police say the man's motive is still under investigation, but say he may have gotten upset with airport staff.
Williston State College welding students have built two trailers that will be raffled off today to raise funds for WSC's Welding program.
Grant Director for TREND (Training for Regional Energy in North Dakota) Pam Rasmussen tells News Radio WSC's welding instructor has given students experience with something they might do in a working shop someday:
"Tim Delorme has introduced print reading and fabrication into the welding program at Williston State College, so this was immediate direct application of the skills the students are learning and a new aspect to the program."
Rasmussen says proceeds from the project will go for the materials that were needed to build the trailers and to fund class trips.
Students have been selling raffle tickets for $10 since December 14th and will continue until the winners are announced January 30th at 4pm.
Tickets are available for purchase in the CTE building until January 30 at 4 pm.
Williams County has a new alert system so residents and businesses can stay informed of critical events and information, such as today's High Wind Warning.
Mike Smith, Director of Emergency Management for Williams County and the City of Williston says The "ALERT Williams County" citizen notification system allows Emergency Management to disseminate this information across all types of devices, ensuring residents have access to real-time public information when they need it the most."
This system will make people aware of a variety of events, ranging from severe weather, fires and other emergencies such as chemical releases.
Routine announcement could include road closures and utility outages. you can sign-up now to get these alerts in the way you prefer: cell phone, home phone; or email.
There are 3 options for registering for "ALERT Williams County" citizen notifications: online via the County website at www.williamsnd.com/alert. ; a registration form at the Williams County Courthouse and in all City Hall buildings across Williams County; or by phone by calling 701-577-7707.
A high wind warning is in effect from now until 9:00 PM on Monday, January 30th.
NORTHWEST WIND GUSTS AS HIGH AS 65 MPH ARE EXPECTED.
DRIVING HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES AND WORKING OUTDOORS ON ELEVATED STRUCTURES MAY BE DANGEROUS. MINOR PROPERTY DAMAGE IS POSSIBLE AND DRIFTING SNOW WILL MAKE ROADS SLIPPERY.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) - A Watford City man is dead after his pickup collided head-on with a semi-truck on an icy road in western North Dakota.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol says 30-year-old Isac Armando Zocarro was driving a Dodge pickup when he lost control on Highway 23 and crossed the center line Saturday morning, colliding with the oncoming semi.
Zocarro died at the scene. The semi driver was not hurt. The patrol says both drivers were wearing seat belts.
The crash happened 14 miles east of Watford City. The patrol says roads were icy and compacted with snow, and there was drifting snow at the time.
One of the Bakkens biggest producers, Continental Resources says it will be taking advantage of expected higher oil prices and plans to double its capital expenditure budget in 2017. The company plans to spend $1.95 billion this year, mostly on drilling and completion activities. The company anticipates that the increased spending will lift its production. The company's 2016 budget was $920 million.
With this year's budget, the company plans to put efforts on finishing its inventory of incomplete wells it drilled over the past two years while the industry suffered. Continental Resources is an Oklahoma-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company.
The Williston New Public School District 8 board voted to appoint former board member Heather Kitzman to take the seat vacated by the sudden death of David Rockstad in December. During last nights meeting the the board unanamously voted Kitzman to the position until new elections in June when three positions will be up for grabs. She has 10 days to complete and file the paperwork with the county before she can rejoin the board.
A change of venue is granted in the trial of a Florida trucker involved in last years heart wrenching rear end crash in Crosby that killed a Noonan father and two of his children.
William Koehler's trial will move from Divide County to McKenzie County. The 49-year-old Koehler is charged with three counts of manslaughter in an August crash that killed Lesley Gunderson and his 2-year-old and 8-year-old daughters. His 4-year-old son suffered serious injuries.
The Chiefland Florida man is accused of speeding and using his cellphone moments before rear-ending that victims' car that was stopped for a flagger in a construction zone. His attorney successfully argued that most of the victims family and the community believed he was guilty.
33 year old Richard Isom, of Williston is starting a five year prison sentence for nearly hitting a deputy last spring as he fled from police through Williston.
Isom pleaded guilty this week to a stack of charges including reckless endangerment, fleeing from police, reckless driving, refusing to halt and leaving the scene of an accident.
Northwest District Judge Joshua Rustad sentenced Isom to 10 years in prison, with five years suspended, and five years of supervised probation when he gets out.
During the chase that started when he failed to pull over for erratic driving on 11th street, Isom almost hit three children in addition to the deputy, and ended with a foot chase after Isom crashed his car in a field off hwy 2 north of the city.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's governor has signed his first bill into law.
Gov. Doug Burgum signed a Senate bill Wednesday that allows the state to borrow $8 million from the Bank of North Dakota to pay for law enforcement costs related to the Dakota Access pipeline protests.
The fast-tracked bill also includes $3 million in borrowing authority from the Bank of North Dakota to provide grant money for costs related to the protest activities, most of which have happened in Morton County.
Rep. Jeff Delzer noted the state's Emergency Commission has already authorized $17 million in borrowing authority.
Williston's Delta Kappa Gamma chapter focuses on literacy and is raising funds for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.
Parton created the Imagination Library to provide books to children every month for their first five years.
DKG's President,Kim Weismann, tells News Radio the Williston Imagination Library is in need of funds to continue meeting the needs of the growing Williston community:
"It costs about twenty-five dollars per kid for the year. And so, when you figure about eight hundred kids, it's about twenty thousand dollars a year. We are trying to raise money so we can keep giving the children those books."
Williston's DKG makes an annual goal to raise money for the Imagination Library through a variety of fundraisers.
DKG is currently hosting an online Tupperware fundraiser.
To help support DKG, contact Kim Weismann at 701-774-4503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault is sending President Trump a letter urging the President to allow for the completion of a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The executive order Trump signed this week reverses Obama administration instruction that halted DAPL’s construction until an EIS could be completed and a reroute considered.
"These lands are Tribal Lands, and he's a hypocrite by allowing a pipeline to go throuigh the Missouri River in our treaty lands," charged Archambault, who accuses the President of using Executive Order to skirt the law.
"To streamline the EPA processes so that the corporate world can contaminate the water, contaminate the air and the earth," says Archambault.
Trump has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to quickly review and approve construction and easement requests for the $3.8 billion pipeline, a project that has led to major protests.
Archambault says if President Trump wants to start constructing walls, then he should be building a wall around their treaty lands to keep westerners and non-Indians out of their lands.
MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A former North Dakota school superintendent serving up to 40 years in prison for sex crimes involving minors wants electronics returned that were seized during the investigation.
Former Sawyer superintendent Charles Soper argued in court Tuesday that the state should return a computer, an iPad and a cellphone to his family, so they can sell or use the devices.
Ward County Deputy State's Attorney Kelly Dillon argued the computer and iPad both contain child pornography and should be destroyed. The Minot Police Department wants to keep Soper's cellphone to use as a training tool.
The judge took the request under advisement.
Soper was accused of sexually abusing three teenage boys and possessing child pornography. He resigned from the school after his arrest in 2015.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - With 455 cases of influenza statewide, some North Dakota hospitals are restricting visitors.
Nearly 18 percent of the flu cases are in the Bismarck-Mandan area.
Due to the high volume of flu cases Sanford Medical Center and CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck began restricting its visitors on Tuesday.
Bismarck-Burleigh Health Director Renae Moch is urging local residents to disinfect surfaces they frequently touch at home, work and school. He advises to get a flu shot, wash hands with soap and water frequently and stay home when sick.
According to Moch, a possible reason for the spread of the virus in the area could be that influenza survives better in cold and drier climates.