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Local and Regional News Archives for 2013-03

ND House kills bill to strengthen DUI penalties

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's House has killed a bill aimed at strengthening penalties for drunken driving.
     Representatives rejected the bill 63-28 on Friday. North Dakota's Senate endorsed the measure earlier.
     The measure, among other things, would have raised the fine for a first drunken driving offense from $250 to $500.
     The bill also would require mandatory participation in the so-called 24/7 sobriety program, which requires offenders to report twice a day to a law enforcement center and blow into a device to show they're sober. People who couldn't make the trip would wear an ankle bracelet to track their sobriety in real time.
     Data show DUI arrests in North Dakota have increased 53 percent in the last 10 years, including 6,600 arrests last year.

Son of convicted murderer charged with killing man

 FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota man whose father is serving life in prison for one of the most gruesome killings in state history has been charged in federal court with first-degree murder.
     Daniel Greatwalker Sr., of Belcourt, was convicted in November 2002 of killing 43-year-old Linus Wallette, whose body was found in a wooded area near Belcourt. Authorities said Wallette was beaten with a pickax, knife and hammer.
     The case against 23-year-old Daniel Greatwalker Jr. was unsealed Friday in federal court. He's accused of killing 21-year-old Perry Picotte by striking and stabbing him. Picotte was reported missing on Nov. 27. His body was discovered on Dec. 2.
     The younger Greatwalker is also charged with covering up evidence in the case. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Bismarck.


MI man charged with murder in ND denied lower bond


     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A state district judge in Williston has denied a bond-reduction request from a man accused of murdering his roommate at an oil field crew camp in Williams County.
     Thirty-one-year-old Ryan Anderson is accused of stabbing to death 32-year-old Christopher King after an alcohol-fueled dispute March 17. Both men came from Michigan.
     The Williston Herald reports ( ) that defense attorney Nicole Foster asked that Anderson's bond be reduced to $25,000, saying Anderson stabbed King in self-defense. Prosecutor Nathan Madden said Anderson has a history of failing to appear for court.
     Judge David Nelson kept bond for Anderson at $1 million.

Former ND sheriff: "Guns not the answer"


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Republican state Sen. Stanley Lyson (LEE'-son) says allowing people with concealed carry permits to have a gun inside a school or at public gatherings likely won't do anything to improve safety for people.
     Lyson is a former Williams County sheriff and holds a concealed carry permit. Lyson and other senators question whether more guns would lead to accidental shootings and put weapons in the hands of people not adequately trained to react in the event of an emergency.
     North Dakota's Senate shot down a measure Thursday that would allow someone with a concealed weapon permit to carry a gun inside a school.
     But the Republican-led chamber did endorse a bill that would permit firearms in places of worship if church officials allow it and notify law enforcement.

No one hurt in school fire


     GARRISON, N.D. (AP) - Students in Garrison are getting an extended Easter break after a fire at an elementary school.
     Superintendent Steve Brannan says no one was hurt in the Wednesday afternoon blaze at Bob Callies Elementary, but a fourth-grade classroom was rendered unusable and other areas had smoke and water damage.
     The cause of the fire was not immediately determined. Classes at all schools in the city were called off until Tuesday.

No plea change yet for dad in Wis. girls' deaths

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) - A potential plea change for a North Dakota man accused of killing his three daughters in Wisconsin is on hold.
     Defense attorney John Kucinski had said Aaron Schaffhausen might change his plea at Wednesday's pretrial hearing in Hudson, Wisconsin. Schaffhausen has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
     Kucinski said Schaffhausen might admit the killings but maintain an insanity claim. But after prosecutors and defense attorneys met for several hours, St. Croix County Circuit Judge Howard Cameron said the two sides would file briefs on the matter and he set another hearing for Thursday.
     The Minot construction worker faces three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the July 10th deaths of his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia. His trial starts Monday.

Feds in ND charge people in Jamaican lottery scam

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Federal prosecutors in North Dakota have unsealed indictments against 15 people accused of bilking victims from the Dakotas and elsewhere out of more than $1 million in a Jamaican lottery scam.
     Charges against 11 defendants were made public Wednesday, after four people pleaded not guilty earlier to several charges, including mail and wire fraud.
     Both Dakotas are the latest states whose residents have been victimized by a lottery scam originating in Jamaica. The scheme targets mostly elderly Americans. Authorities estimate that at least 30,000 telephone calls from Jamaica are made every day trying to defraud U.S. citizens.
     Court documents show that one North Dakota woman lost more than $150,000 in the case. She was told to send money in order to receive a $19 million cash award.

Minot, Ward County receiving $40M in CDBG funds

 MINOT, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's governor and congressional delegation say the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the city of Minot and Ward County more than $40 million in disaster relief funding.
     Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, Representative Kevin Cramer and Governor Jack Dalrymple say the city and county will now be allowed to use the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief funding for home acquisition outside the floodplain, which was formerly disallowed.
     The award brings the total block grant for Minot to more than $112 million, and the total of all federal funding combined to the city and region to more than $632 million.
     The city received $35 million of the new money. The state of North Dakota received $6.6 million, with 80 percent going to Ward County.

1 of 2 Williston camper fire victims identified

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Authorities have identified one of two people who died in a camper fire in Williston.
     The Williams County Sheriff's Office says 47-year-old Lawrence Norman, of Kelso, Wash., died in the blaze early Monday. Authorities are still trying to identify a female who also died.
     The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Last college baseball games at Metrodome this week

     MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Metrodome is hosting its final college baseball games this week.
     The University of Minnesota will play its last baseball game at the Dome ever on Wednesday. The Golden Gophers will take on South Dakota State at 6:35 p.m.
     The Dome's college baseball schedule wraps up Saturday with a game between North Dakota State and North Dakota.
     The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has been getting calls from colleges looking to book baseball games in early April if the weather doesn't clear up.
     Plans call for the Metrodome to be torn down early next year to make way for the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium. The Vikings' new stadium will be designed to accommodate a baseball field.

Larsons highlight ND A girls all-state hoops team

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Two unanimous selections - Bismarck Century senior Hannah Larson and Fargo North senior Kira Larson - lead the list of honorees on the North Dakota Class A all-state girls basketball first team.
     The all-state team - selected by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association - includes 11 athletes.
     Joining Hannah Larson and Kira Larson on the first team are Grand Forks Red River senior Ellie Ripplinger, Jamestown senior Kyra Dewald and Fargo Shanley freshman Sarah Jacobson.
     Hannah Larson capped her prep basketball career by helping the Patriots to their second consecutive state championship. She was named Miss Basketball.
     Larson, a 6-foot forward, averaged 15 points per game, 11.3 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game, 2.8 blocks per game and 2.2 assists per game for the Patriots. She also was an all-state, first-team selection in volleyball, but has chosen to play basketball in college. Larson has yet to decide where she will play.

Health care law will raise claim costs in ND

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A study by the Society of Actuaries estimates that the new federal health care law will raise medical claims costs in North Dakota by 8.4 percent.
     Medical claims costs are the main driver of health insurance premiums. The study estimates that President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act will raise claims costs nationally by an average of 32 percent per person in the individual health insurance market by 2017. That's partly due to sicker people joining the pool.
     The study finds wide disparities among states.
     The estimates assume every state will expand its Medicaid program.
     The report did not make similar estimates for employer plans, the mainstay for workers and their families. The primary impact of Obama's law is on people who don't have insurance through their jobs.

ND gov.: Abortion legislation to test Roe V. Wade

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - After signing what could be the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple acknowledged that a court battle is likely. He signed legislation Tuesday banning most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected - something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
     The Republican governor says in a statement that "the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question." He calls the measure "a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries" of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
     Dalrymple on Tuesday also signed into law another measure that would makes North Dakota the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome. He also endorsed a measure that requires a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.

New North Dakota abortion law spurs activism by opponents

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The director of North Dakota's sole abortion provider says people stopped by the downtown Fargo facility to donate cash shortly after Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the nation's most restrictive abortion legislation.
     Red River Women's Clinic director Tammi Kromenaker calls the legislation "extreme and unconstitutional." Kromenaker says Dalrymple has "awoke a sleeping giant" by approving the legislation on Tuesday.

Williston leaders reject guns-in-church request

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williston city commissioners have rejected a request from 10 local pastors that would have paved the way for concealed guns in churches.
     The pastors say they don't necessarily plan to allow concealed weapons, but they want the decision left up to churches and not the government. The Rev. Will Page says, "somewhere in this country there is some evil man that is plotting another mass murder."
     The commissioners on Tuesday night expressed concerns about safety if churchgoers are allowed to carry concealed weapons. Commissioner Tate Cymbaluk said if numerous people had guns, it could lead to a dangerous crossfire.
     The commission voted 4-1 to deny the petition.
     State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow concealed weapons in a church if the church approves it.

Soldiers are prepared to help with spring flooding.

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The head of the North Dakota National Guard says there are more than 2,000 soldiers who are prepared to help with spring flooding. Commander Dave Sprynczynatyk says Guard members have been conducting exercises and identifying "worst-case scenarios." The most serious flooding is expected along the Red River.

2 killed in early morning camper fire in Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Two people perished in a camper caught fire in Williston.


Fire Chief Dave Benth says that the Williston Rural Fire Department responded to the call at about 1:30 a.m. Monday morning and had the fire extinguished in about 15 minutes.


Sheriff Scott Busching didn't provide details of the circumstances but two people are dead. Their names have not yet been released.


The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


Benth said no members of the fire department or sheriff's office were injured.


The fire also spread to a transmission line pole and forced Montana-Dakota Utilities to shut down power to a substation to allow crews access to the camper. Power was back up in the Williston area by about 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Rallies held to protest ND anti-abortion measures

   BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The move by members of the state Legislature to give North Dakota the most restrictive abortion laws in the country has led to the formation of a new group called Stand Up for Women North Dakota.
     Organizer Robin Nelson says the intent of the pro-choice group is to show solidarity for women's rights. Some 300 of the activists turned out Monday for a rally at the state capitol in Bismarck, and similar events also were arranged in Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot.
     The Legislature has passed several anti-abortion measures this session. Most are awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who hasn't yet indicated whether he supports the laws.
     A Dalrymple spokesman says the governor's office is fielding a large number of calls both supporting and protesting the measures.

Spring planting likely to be later in ND this year

 FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The planting of crops in North Dakota this spring is likely to begin later than last year.
     The Agriculture Department says in its latest crop progress and condition report that producers on average intend to begin fieldwork by April 22, compared to April 2 last year. An average starting date of April 22 still would be earlier than the 2011 average start date of May 7.
     The average snow depth statewide is about 1 foot, compared with almost no snow cover last year at the same time.

Local Headlines: Camper Fire causes two deaths and power outage...

Local News... Monday, March 25, 2013


A power outage in Williston early this morning occurred after a camper trailer fire spread to one of MDU's transmission line poles in the 800 block of Riverside Drive.  MDU had to shut down one of their substations to allow authorities access to the camper which caused the power outage.  An MDU spokesman says customers may still experience rolling blackouts until repairs to the power pole can be made. 
Williams County Sheriff Scott Bushing reports that two people, a male and a female, perished in that camper fire that occurred about 1:30 this morning.  Sheriff's deputies are still investigating, and no names have been released. 



Williston police are investigating at least seven "theft of property" cases that occurred over the week-end.  Items taken from Wired Cellular, Petra, Inc., Wickum Construction, Wal-Mart and private residences or vehicles totalled over $13,000 dollars in value.  A Bobcat Skidsteer taken from Wickum Construction is valued at $50,000 dollars alone.



In a theft from Wal-Mart, 40 year old Tod Rathburn of Williston is charged with theft of property including a bed, fouton and night-stand, all valued at $480 dollars.

Hedderichs reported vandalism, a plate glass door was broken, causing $300 dollars damage. 

Farm Rescue gets largest grant in history: $348K

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota-based Farm Rescue organization is getting a grant of nearly $348,000 from a charitable trust established by the late hotel and real estate baroness Leona Helmsley.


The nonprofit Farm Rescue provides planting and harvesting help free of charge to farm families in five states who have experienced a major illness, injury or disaster. Officials say the grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust will be used for equipment purchases and general operations.


Farm Rescue founder and President Bill Gross says it's the largest grant the nonprofit has received since it began operations in 2006.


Farm Rescue has helped more than 200 farm families in the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota and Iowa.

North Dakota ranchers brave cold calving season

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota ranchers are braving cold weather to care for their cattle during calving season.


Kidder County Extension Agent Penny Nester says the below-normal temperatures require ranchers to check cows more often and make sure calves are warm, drinking property and moving around to build their own energy.


Nester says that calves left out in the cold risk losing ears or tails to frostbite.


The average temperature for March in the Bismarck area has been 21.3 degrees, compared to the average temperature of 29.9 degrees for that month in the last 20 years.


Nester notes that calving season is stressful even in warm weather.

Ground to be broken for western ND diesel refinery

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Officials are breaking ground this week for a diesel refinery in western North Dakota.


Bismarck-based MDU Resources Group Incorporated and Indianapolis-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners are building the Dakota Prairie Refinery west of Dickinson. Officials have said it could cost up to $300 million.


The facility will process crude from the rich Bakken and Three Forks formations in western North Dakota, helping meet an unprecedented need for diesel fuel in the booming oil patch.


A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled Tuesday morning. Governor Jack Dalrymple and members of North Dakota's congressional delegation are scheduled to be on hand.


North Dakota currently has only one oil refinery, the Tesoro Corporation facility at Mandan.

Trains carry millions of gallons of oil across ME

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Railroad cars filled with crude oil from the Bakken oil field of North Dakota are crossing Maine in unprecedented numbers bound for an oil refinery in Canada.


Trains carried nearly 5.3 million barrels of crude across Maine to New Brunswick last year, and officials say the volume is growing.


It's the same story across the country. The Association of American Railroads says U.S. trains last year carried nearly 234,000 carloads of oil, a 256 percent jump from 2011.


The growing volume of oil is raising concern among environmentalists and government officials about the threat of an accident and spill, but railroads say moving oil by train is perfectly safe.


One train derailed this month in Mattawamkeag (mat-ah-WAHM-keg) near the Penobscot River, though only a tiny amount of oil spilled.

Pastors ask Williston council to OK guns in church

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Some pastors in a northwestern North Dakota city are asking that guns be allowed in churches.


The group plans to submit a petition this week to Williston city commissioners that would give churches the option of allowing concealed weapons.


The Reverend Will Page, associate professor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, says he's worried that people with evil intentions may target churches because they know members of the congregation are not armed.


The group says the petition is motivated by mass shootings elsewhere and not the state's oil boom.


The state Legislature is considering allowing guns in churches and other places.


Senator Stan Lyson of Williston, a former Williams County sheriff, says he doesn't believe that allowing concealed weapons in church or other places improves safety.


Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Status Update

A camper trailer fire early this morning spread to one of our transmission line poles. To allow authorities access to the camper trailer we had to shut down one of our substations. Because of the electric load and colder temperatures this morning our Williston customers may experience rolling blackouts until repairs to the pole can be made and the substation re-energized. MDU thanks you for your patience.

ND lawmakers define life as starting at conception


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Legislature has passed a bill that would essentially ban abortion by defining human life as beginning at conception. 
     The bill is one of a series North Dakota lawmakers have passed this year, chipping away at abortion rights. The state's Republican governor has not yet indicated whether he will sign it.
     Abortion-rights advocates say the so-called "personhood" measure and others passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature are unconstitutional and clearly violate the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that legalized abortion until a fetus is viable, which is usually at 22 to 24 weeks.
     Other bills awaiting the governor's signature would ban abortions sought because of genetic defects such as Down syndrome and when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks. 

ND lawmakers pass "fetal pain" abortion bill


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota lawmakers have passed legislation that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the disputed premise that at that point a fetus can feel pain.
     North Dakota's House voted 60-32 Friday.
     The measure is a challenge to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion up until viability, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.
     Republican Sen. Spencer Berry is a sponsor of the bill. The Fargo physician says research shows that a fetus can feel pain by 20 weeks of pregnancy.
     Several Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate have introduced bills this session that are aimed shuttering the state's sole abortion clinic in Fargo and to boldly challenge the 40-year-old Supreme Court ruling.

Companies sentenced for illegal sewage disposal


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Two companies fined a combined total of more than half a million dollars by the state of North Dakota for improperly dumping sewage in the oil patch have been sentenced in federal court.
     A judge on Friday ordered Fairview, Mont.-based Hurley Enterprises and Stanley-based MonDak Water and Septic Service to each pay $50,000, as part of a plea agreement.
     The state had previously fined Hurley $500,000 and MonDak $200,000. The companies also agreed on a two-year plan to improve sewage disposal practices.
     Timothy Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota, tells The Associated Press that federal prosecutors are committed to protecting the water, air and wildlife in oil country.
     Thomas Kelly, a Washington, D.C., attorney who specializes in environmental cases and is representing both companies, was not immediately available for comment.

XTO Energy pulls app for land near historic ranch


     An oil company that staked out an area near the site of Theodore Roosevelt's historic Badlands ranch in western North Dakota has withdrawn an application to the state to develop the land for up to four oil wells.
     State Mineral Resources spokeswoman Alison Ritter says XTO Energy late Thursday notified officials of the decision to pull the application, which had drawn criticism from officials at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Superintendent Valerie Naylor called the possible wells the worst threat to the park in its history.
     Roosevelt raised cattle at the Elkhorn ranch site in the mid-1880s before becoming the nation's president. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places last year.
     Mineral Resources officials had been scheduled to discuss the XTO Energy plan at a hearing next week.

Nd lawmakers to consider 'personhood' measure


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's House is set to consider legislation that essentially outlaws abortion in the state by defining human life as beginning with conception.
     The so-called "personhood" measures, as supporters have dubbed them, would bestow human rights on fertilized human eggs. The House is expected to vote Friday on the measures that have already passed the Senate.
     North Dakota has become the epicenter of anti-abortion legislation this session, having already approved two bills that would virtually ban all abortions as early as six weeks, as well as those sought because of genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
     If Gov. Jack Dalrymple signs the measures, North Dakota would be the only state with those laws.
     Efforts to pass the even more restrictive personhood legislation have failed in other states. 

Hoeven says sequester won't affect flood control


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven says the Army Corps of Engineers assured him that mandatory budget cuts will not affect flood protection efforts in the state.
     The senator met Thursday in Washington with Maj. Gen. John Peabody, a division commander with the corps.
     Hoeven says Peabody told him that the sequester won't be an issue and the corps will not risk life, health or safety issues. 
     The National Weather Service on Thursday gave a 50 percent chance that the Red River in Fargo will reach 38 feet, which is 20 feet above flood stage.
     Officials in Cass County, where Fargo is located, have called an emergency meeting Friday to discuss flood preparations.
     Officials in Minot are monitoring releases from Lake Darling Dam on the Souris River upstream from the city.  

ND gov owns stock in parent of XTO Energy


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Jack Dalrymple owns stock in the parent of an oil company that has staked out an area near the site of Theodore Roosevelt's historic Badlands ranch in western North Dakota.
     The Bismarck Tribune reports ( documents filed with the secretary of state's office show that Dalrymple owns shares of stock in ExxonMobil, the parent of XTO Energy. A spokesman for Dalrymple says the governor isn't going to discuss details of his personal finances.
     XTO Energy has staked out an area for up to four oil wells near Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch site. The company says it has made no decisions about actually drilling there.
     State Mineral Resources officials have scheduled a March 28 hearing. They'll eventually make a recommendation to the state Industrial Commission. Dalrymple is chairman of the commission.
     Information from: Bismarck Tribune, 

NWS: Souris River could flood in rural areas


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The Souris River in northern North Dakota is expected to exceed flood stage in many rural areas this spring.
     National Weather Service hydrologist Allen Schlag says additional snowfall has increased the amount of water in the region that will runoff into the river. Dikes protect the city of Minot and Schlag says rural areas with no dikes are of the biggest concern.
     Colder weather in the region has led to ice forming on the Missouri River and passing through the Bismarck-Mandan area. The weather service says ice collecting south of the metro area has led to a river rise of about 3 feet, but there is no threat to property.

ND lawmakers kill direct-payment measures


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's House has voted down a pair resolutions aimed at sharing the state's wealth with individuals.
     The resolutions would have required an amendment to North Dakota's Constitution to allow for direct payments to residents.
     Backers of the measures say they were patterned after the Alaska Permanent Fund, which is that state's oil savings account. Each year, all men, women and children who have lived in Alaska for at least a year get a share of the fund.
     North Dakota has its own tax fund that has more than $850 million in assets. 
     The Legacy Fund gets 30 percent of the state's oil tax collections. None of the money can be spent until 2017, and even then it takes a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to dip into it.   

Severed calf head puzzles ND rancher, authorities


     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - The Stark County Sheriff's Office is investigating an incident in which someone placed a severed calf's head atop a sign on a rural road just north of Dickinson.
     The head was put atop a "private property" sign on Howard Newton's ranch. The landowner tells The Dickinson Press ( ) that he doesn't know how or why the head was put on his sign. He says he tends horses but doesn't own any cattle.
     Sheriff's Capt. Dean Franchuk says there have been no reports of missing cattle in the area.
     Information from: The Dickinson Press, 

Report: Fargo should expect one of its worst floods


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The National Weather Service says residents along the Red River in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., should prepare for one of the top five floods in their history.
     Flood stage for the river is 18 feet. The flood outlook released Thursday says there's a 50 percent chance that the river will top 38 feet. That would top the fifth-highest crest of 37.34 feet in 1969.
     Fargo officials say they believe the city is still in good shape because of recent flood protection improvements, but they plan to make 500,000 sandbags to add to a reserve of 750,000 bags.
     Fargo-Moorhead residents battled three straight major floods beginning in 2009, when the record crest of nearly 41 feet forced thousands to evacuate and caused an estimated $100 million in damage.

ND lawmakers kill direct-payment measures


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's House has voted down a pair resolutions aimed at sharing the state's wealth with individuals.
     The resolutions would have required an amendment to North Dakota's Constitution to allow for direct payments to residents.
     Backers of the measures say they were patterned after the Alaska Permanent Fund, which is that state's oil savings account. Each year, all men, women and children who have lived in Alaska for at least a year get a share of the fund.
     North Dakota has its own tax fund that has more than $850 million in assets. 
     The Legacy Fund gets 30 percent of the state's oil tax collections. None of the money can be spent until 2017, and even then it takes a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to dip into it.   

Education board to discuss support of chancellor


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Board of Higher Education has called a special meeting to talk about its support of the university system chancellor.
     The board's lawyer last week unveiled a more than 200-page document detailing an investigation into complaints that Chancellor Hamid Shirvani and the board broke the state's open meetings laws and violated board policy.
     Claire Holloway's investigation found no intentional violations by Shirvani, but it pointed out omissions with the minutes and agenda of one meeting. Holloway blamed the board for the mistakes and recommended that members review open meetings requirements.
     Shirvani, who took over on July 1, has come under fire from some legislators, students and others for his management style. Board members have said they stand behind the chancellor.
     The meeting is scheduled Thursday afternoon.  

ND man pleads not guilty to mistreating animals


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A New Salem man accused of mistreating horses and mules has pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor charges in Burleigh County.
     William Kiefer earlier this month pleaded not guilty to similar charges in neighboring Morton County.
     Authorities seized more than 150 animals from Kiefer's properties in the two counties in January after finding nearly 100 dead animals.
     The Bismarck Tribune reports ( ) that most of the seized animals have been adopted.
     Information from: Bismarck Tribune, 

ND National Guard soldiers to return home Friday


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Nearly 100 North Dakota National Guard soldiers who served a year in Afghanistan and lost two of their comrades are returning home.
     The members of the 818th Engineer Company have been going through the demobilization process at Fort Bliss, Texas, since March 12. The Bismarck Tribune reports ( ) they are scheduled to fly into Bismarck on Friday.
     The 818th is based in Williston with a detachment in Hazen. The soldiers served as combat engineers in Afghanistan, clearing roadside bombs.
     Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde, of Devils Lake, and Spc. Tyler Orgaard, of Bismarck, died in the line of duty on Dec. 3. A third soldier, Spc. Ian Placek, of Bismarck, was wounded.
     Information from: Bismarck Tribune, 

ND tribe stops construction of oil waste landfill


     WHITE SHIELD, N.D. (AP) - The Three Affiliated Tribes has shut down construction of a landfill for oil waste on the Fort Berthold Reservation in northwestern North Dakota.
     Owner Marvin Danks, of New Town, started construction at the site between Parshall and White Shield about 1  1/2 weeks ago. The Bismarck Tribune reports ( ) that the tribe issued a cease-and-desist order Monday, after tribal Environmental Director Edmund Baker said the project needed a permit and an environmental review.
     Danks said his landfill will be environmentally responsible, and that he will do whatever the tribe requires.
     Tribal members are being given until May 8 to comment. More than 200 people attended a Tuesday meeting in White Shield about the project. None spoke in support of it.

Williston murder suspect waives extradition from MT


     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - An Idaho man who is a suspect in a North Dakota homicide has waived extradition from Montana.
     Forty-six-year-old Jonathan Horvath was arrested near Billings, Mont., on Monday and appeared in court on Tuesday. The Billings Gazette reports that he told the judge he would voluntarily be returned to North Dakota to face murder and reckless endangerment charges.
     Horvath is charged in the shooting death early Saturday of 28-year-old Williston resident Derrick Siegel outside a bar in that city. Authorities say Horvath had recently moved to Williston from Sandpoint, Idaho.
     The Williston Herald reports that Horvath has a criminal history in California - including an attempted murder charge in 1993. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges in that case.

Suspect formally charged in Williston bomb scare


     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Authorities have formally charged a Williston man in a bomb scare in the city.
     The Williston Herald reports ( 21-year-old Jordan Poindexter faces a charge called criminal attempt, possession of a bomb. It is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of a year in jail.
     Court documents do not list an attorney for him. He is scheduled to enter a plea on Tuesday.
     Authorities last Thursday responded to a suspected pipe bomb in a duffel bag at Oil States Energy Services and evacuated buildings in the area while the Minot Bomb Squad was called in to handle the situation.
     Police have not said if Poindexter worked for the company.

Bond set at $1M for MI suspect in man camp homicide


     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Bond has been set at $1 million for a Michigan man accused of stabbing to death his friend and roommate at an oil field crew camp in western North Dakota.
     Thirty-one-year-old Ryan Anderson is charged with murdering 32-year-old Christopher King after an alcohol-fueled dispute early Sunday, and attempted murder for allegedly trying to stab another man. Authorities say Anderson and King were longtime friends who moved from Michigan to work in North Dakota's oil fields.
     The Forum reports that Anderson appeared in court Tuesday without an attorney. Court documents do not list an attorney for him.
     The Williston Herald reports that court documents indicate King and others at the crew camp intervened in a fight between Anderson and his girlfriend early Sunday, and Anderson allegedly stabbed King four times.

Lawmakers urge governor to veto ND abortion bills

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple to veto measures that would make North Dakota home to the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S.
     Republican state Rep. Kathy Hawken of Fargo says about 10 senators and representatives from both parties met with Dalrymple Monday night.
     Hawken says the lawmakers worry about the cost of litigation and the effort to "outlaw something that is already legal."
     Lawmakers last week passed two anti-abortion bills, one banning the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and another barring women from having the procedure based on the fetus' gender or because it has a genetic defect.
     Lawmakers are now considering measures would ban abortions by defining human life as beginning with conception.

Oil drilling a possibility near historic ND ranch

     MEDORA, N.D. (AP) - An oil company has staked out an area near the site of Theodore Roosevelt's historic Badlands ranch in western North Dakota.
     Theodore Roosevelt National Park Superintendent Valerie Naylor tells The Bismarck Tribune the prospect of oil wells near the historic Elkhorn Ranch represents the worst threat to the park in its history.
     ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy has staked out an area for up to four oil wells less than a mile from the 1880s-era cabin site. State Mineral Resources officials who will make a recommendation to the Industrial Commission have scheduled a permit hearing March 28.
     Any oil wells also would require a federal permit because they would be on the Little Missouri National Grasslands.
     XTO spokeswoman Emily Snooks tells The Dickinson Press that protecting the environment is a priority.

Michigan man charged in ND oil field stabbing

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Formal charges have been filed against a Michigan man accused of stabbing to death his roommate at an oil field crew camp in western North Dakota.
     Court documents show that 31-year-old Ryan Anderson is charged with attempted murder and murder. They do not list an attorney for him or a hometown.
     Anderson is accused of killing 32-year-old Christopher King after an alcohol-fueled dispute early Sunday. Authorities say Anderson drove King from the Capital Lodge crew camp between Ray and Tioga to a Tioga hospital, where King was pronounced dead and Anderson was arrested.
     Sgt. Detective Caleb Fry with the Williams County Sheriff's Office tells The Forum newspaper that King was stabbed four times with a hunting knife - twice in the chest and twice in the abdomen.

FEMA giving Minot $2.1M for floodwall project

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it is giving the city of Minot about $2.1 million for the first phase of a project to protect the city's water treatment plant with a floodwall.
     FEMA says the $2.7 million first phase involves design and engineering work along with an environmental study. If all requirements are met FEMA will help fund construction.
     Minot was hit by historic Souris River flooding in the summer of 2011. More than 4,000 homes, businesses and other structures were affected.

WPD asking for public's help in locating runaway

WPD asking for public's help in locating runaway

The Williston Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating 17-year-old runaway Zebulin Ziesmer.


Ziesmer is described as 6 feet, 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.



Anyone with information on Ziesmer's whereabouts is asked to please contact the Williston Police Department at 701-577-1212.

Man wanted in Williston shooting arrested in Billings

Captain Tom Ladwig with the Williston Police Department said this afternoon that Jonathon Peter Horvath has been arrested in Montana.


Ladwig says Horvath was arrested this afternoon by Montana Highway Patrol in Billings and is in custody in Yellowstone County.


Horvath is wanted by the Williston Police Department on warrants for Reckless Endangerment and Murder.


Horvath is a suspect in the weekend shooting of 28-year-old Derrick Spiegel in downtown Williston.

Man dies in mancamp stabbing

32-year-old Christopher King, of Michigan, was killed in a mancamp stabbing over the weekend.


The incident occurred at the Capital Lodge Mancamp east of Ray.


At approximately 4:06 AM on March 17th, the Williams County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a stabbing at the mancamp.


King was transported by private vehicle to the Tioga Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.


The suspect was apprehended at the Tioga Medical Center.  Ryan Anderson, also of Michigan, is being held on the AA felony charge of murder.  Bond will be set later this week.  The investigation is ongoing and other charges are pending.

Late-winter storm affecting travel in Dakotas

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A late-winter storm is causing travel problems throughout much of North Dakota and eastern South Dakota.
     Motorists in many areas are being advised not to travel or to use extreme caution when venturing out because of snow and blowing snow. Ice also is a problem in eastern South Dakota. Many schools in the two states are starting late or calling off classes for the day.
     The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for much of eastern North Dakota and for northeastern and east central South Dakota. Storm warnings and advisories are posted in other areas.
     Parts of eastern North Dakota could see more than half a foot of snow, and forecasters say the wind in northeastern South Dakota could gust to 60 mph.

OSHA investigating oil patch death

     STANLEY, N.D. (AP) - The Mountrail County Sheriff's Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the death of a worker in the western North Dakota oil patch.
     Authorities say 31-year-old Joshua Hoiland, of Minot, died last Thursday at an oil site south of Stanley. They say he was cleaning a truck owned by First Choice Energy Services when he was struck by a piece of equipment.
     He died at the scene.


Arrest warrant issued following weekend shooting in Williston

Arrest Warrant issued following weekend shooting

The Williston Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for the alleged suspect involved in a weekend shooting in Williston. Authorities are working to locate 46-year-old Jonathan Peter Horvath, wanted for Reckless Endangerment and Murder.


The shooting took place in downtown Williston early Saturday morning. 28-year-old Derrick Spiegel was killed.


Horvath recently moved to the Williston area from Sandpoint, Idaho. He is described as a white male, with short dirty blonde to brown hair, about 5 feet 9 inches, and about 160-170 lbs.

Horvath also has a tattoo of a spider and web on the left side of his neck.


Authorities have reason to believe that Horvath has left the Western North Dakota area.


Police ask that anyone with information about the incident call the Williston Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (701) 572-TIPS (8477).

Oil industry increases water usage by 75 percent

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Water Commission officials say the state's oil industry used at least 5.4 billion gallons of water in 2012, an increase of 75 percent from 2011.
     The Forum newspaper reports ( that about 70 percent of the water was used for hydraulic fracturing, with at least 2 million gallons of water pumped into the ground at each well.
     Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to break up shale rock and allow the oil to flow.
     The water commission has approved permits for the oil industry to use 18.9 billion gallons of water. Hydrologist Bob Shaver says while it might seem like a lot of water, the state is being careful to make sure water sources are not being depleted.

Man arrested in stabbing death at oilfield camp

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williams County authorities say they've arrested a man in connection with the stabbing death of another man at an oil crew camp in North Dakota.
     The Williams County Sheriff's Office says it responded at about 4 a.m. Sunday to a report of a stabbing at the Capitol Lodge man camp, east of Ray.
     Authorities say the victim, 32-year-old Christopher King, was transported by private vehicle to the Tioga Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
     The suspect was apprehended at the Tioga hospital. Charges have not been filed.
     Police say both the victim and the suspect are from Michigan. No further details were available.

Wiliston shooting kills one

A fatal shooting took place in Williston over the weekend. Det. Cory Collings of the Williston Police Dept. confirmed a shooting early Saturday following a verbal altercation in front of Heartbreakers. Collings identified the victim as a 28 year old male, but declined to release the name. The shooting took place shortly before 1 a.m. Officers found the victim lying in the street. He died shortly afterward at Mercy Medical Center.


According to a preliminary investigation, the victim and a few friends had been at Whisper’s when a verbal argument had initially started. The victim went back into the liquor establishment. A short time later the victim and his friends went to leave as it was bar closing time, police said another altercation took place outside Heartbreakers where the victim was shot.


The suspect took off northbound on foot and is described as white male, 40s, short dirty blonde to brown hair, about 5 feet 9 inches, and about 160-170 lbs.

Police ask that anyone with information about the incident call the Williston Police Department or Crime Stoppers at (701) 572-TIPS (8477).

The North Dakota Senate has approved banning abortions


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Senate has approved banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
     If Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signs the measure, North Dakota would have the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S.
     The measure approved by the Senate on Friday would ban most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
     It's one of several anti-abortion bills the Legislature has weighed this session. 
     The Senate on Friday also passed a measure that would make the state the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome. 

The National Weather Service is beefing up its weather warnings

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The National Weather Service is beefing up its weather warnings during this year's thunderstorm and tornado season. Authorities say the goal is to give the public a better idea of the potential impact of a storm. The effort will be launched in April and will continue through November.

Anglers need to remove fish houses

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Today's the last day for anglers to use permanent fish houses on North Dakota's frozen waters. After midnight, only portable houses will be allowed, as long as they're removed daily.

Authorities have arrested a man after a bomb scare in the city.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Authorities have arrested a 21-year-old Williston man after a bomb scare in the city.
Police on Thursday responded to a report of a suspicious duffel bag at Oil States Energy Services. Buildings in the area were evacuated and the Minot Bomb Squad was called in to handle the situation.
Authorities have not said what type of materials were in the bag. The 21-year-old man was arrested on a charge called criminal attempt, possession of a bomb. He had not yet been formally charged early Friday.  Police have not said if the man worked for Oil States Energy Services.

ND sets February record for airport boardings

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission says 8,000 more passengers boarded airlines in the state than during the previous February.
     Williston led the way with a boarding increase of 138 percent, but Minot, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Fargo also had their best Februarys on record.
     Statewide, boardings climbed by more than 10 percent to 93,679 in February.
     Commission director Larry Taborsky says airlines have been responding to increased demand by increasing the number of flights and available seats.
     Taborsky says that if the airports had additional capacity, the numbers would be even higher.


Oil industry economic impact pegged at $30B

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota State University study says the economic impact of the state's oil industry increased nearly sevenfold in terms of dollars between 2005 and 2011.
     The study released Wednesday puts the value of oil and gas production, exploration, refining, payroll and other activity at $30.4 billion in 2011. That's up from $4.4 billion in 2005.  
     The North Dakota Petroleum Council commissioned the NDSU study at a cost of about $30,000. 
     The report says the oil industry accounted for nearly 41,000 full-time jobs in 2011, or about 9 percent of the state's workforce. The study estimated the oil industry accounted for only about 5,000 jobs in 2005.
     The study estimates that every dollar spent in the state by the oil industry in 2011 generated $1.59 of business activity.

ND Guard soldiers back in US from Afghanistan

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Nearly 100 North Dakota National Guard soldiers who served about a year of duty in Afghanistan are back on U.S. soil.
     The Guard says the soldiers with the 818th Engineer Company arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, on Tuesday night. They will go through the demobilization process before returning to North Dakota.
     The 818th is based in Williston with a detachment in Hazen. The soldiers served as combat engineers in Afghanistan, clearing roadside bombs. Two soldiers died in the line of duty - Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde of Devils Lake and Spc. Tyler Orgaard of Bismarck. A third soldier, Spc. Ian Placek of Bismarck, was wounded. He recently returned to Bismarck to continue his recovery.

ND Legislative session pegged at $65K daily

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Budget analysts say the North Dakota Legislative session costs taxpayers $65,000 a day.
     That comes to about $5.6 million over an 80-day session.
     The North Dakota constitution limits North Dakota legislative sessions to 80 days every two years. A proposal has been introduced that would add another 40 days. That would bump the cost by $2.6 million.
     The Legislature consists of 94 representatives and 47 senators. They're paid $157 daily when the Legislature is in session, including Saturdays and Sundays.

Foes of drilling near historic site out of options

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A New York-based oil company has begun laying the groundwork for wells at the historic Killdeer Battlefield in western North Dakota, and opponents to the project appear to have run out of options.
     Hess Corp. officials say they are "progressing with early site preparation" and expect construction to take place in the coming weeks, despite objections by some area residents, American Indians, historians and others.
     Protesters who wanted further study before drilling started say a lawsuit is unlikely because it would cost too much.
     Area landowner Rob Sand, whose grandparents once owned the land where U.S. Army and American Indian soldiers clashed nearly 150 years ago, says it's looking like a hopeless case.
     Hess officials say they seek to minimize the impact on the environment in all their operations.

Williston charity hosting dinner ball

A special event is coming to Williston to raise donations and awareness for the Salvation Army’s Homeless Shelter fund.


On April 6th, 3D’s Charity is hosting the Scarlett Masquerade Ball, a black-tie charity event.


Director of Communications Thomas Farrenkopf says its not just any ordinary dinner.


The event includes a six course meal, entertainment, and dancing.  The dinner will be hosted at Lutheran Brethren and the dance will follow at the Old Armory.


Farrenkopf says the charity hopes to raise $10,000 to go towards the Salvation Army’s Homeless Shelter fund.


Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 570-0294.


ND Guard soldiers wrap up Cameroon exercise

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - About 40 North Dakota National Guard soldiers who took part in a 10-day military exercise in the African nation of Cameroon are back home.
     The exercise partnered Cameroon's military with about 160 U.S. service members and soldiers form five other central African nations to enhance the ability of the African soldiers to handle such tasks as making aerial deliveries, and treating and evacuating wounded people.
     Most of the North Dakota soldiers are with the Valley City-based 231st Brigade Support Battalion.

Dam releases being increased on Souris River

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Officials this week plan to start releasing more water from Lake Darling Dam on the Souris River upstream from Minot to increase storage capacity as the spring flooding season nears.
     The Minot Daily News reports ( ) that the increases are considered minimal and well within the norm for this time of year. The National Weather Service in its most recent flood outlook said the Souris is expected to remain well within its banks this spring in the Minot area, though minor flooding could occur in some rural areas.
     The region experienced historic river flooding in 2011.
     One impact of the increased dam releases will be a weakening of river ice, which could be dangerous to anyone who ventures onto the river.

Higher Ed attorney says he clashed with chancellor

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The former top lawyer for North Dakota's University System says he was forced out after clashes with Chancellor Hamid Shirvani over alleged open meetings violations.
     The Forum reports ( ) that Pat Seaworth says Shirvani repeatedly instructed Board of Higher Education staff to circumvent open meetings laws. Seaworth says he resigned under pressure last November after more than 20 years as a lawyer for the university system.
     Shirvani has come under fire for his leadership style. The state Senate has approved a measure that would provide money to buy out his contract. The Board of Higher Education has scheduled a special Thursday meeting to discuss allegations about illegal meetings.
     A spokeswoman tells The Associated Press that Shirvani and the board "have always strived to operate in full compliance with the law."

Missouri governor applauds NAWS court ruling

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is applauding a federal judge's decision to stop pipeline construction on the Northwest Area Water Supply project in North Dakota.
     The project is to bring Missouri River water to growing communities in northwestern North Dakota. But officials in Missouri fear it could deplete the river. The state has sued, as has the Canadian province of Manitoba. Officials there worry about the possible transfer of harmful organisms into their waters.
     Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, D.C., had been allowing pipeline work to continue but says in her latest ruling that the work must stop until federal officials are done studying all aspects of the project that's been under construction since 2002.
     Nixon says in a statement that the river is vital to Missouri and needs protection.

Studies focusing on oil's impact on ND wildlife

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Officials are studying mule deer and birds in western North Dakota to help determine the impact of oil activity on wildlife.
     The Forum newspaper reports ( that there are about 7,000 wells in the oil patch now, and officials predict that number could rise to 35,000 in the new few decades. That could cause a big reduction in wildlife habitat.
     Researchers in one study have equipped 90 female mule deer with radio collars to track survival rates. Researcher Jesse Kolar says mule deer browse on a lot of plants and are considered an indicator species that will provide an early indicator of the impacts of oil development on wildlife.
     Officials also are studying sage grouse and several grassland bird species.

Two fatalities on Western ND roadways over weekend

2 fatalities on Western ND roadways over the weekend.


The first fatality occurred near New Town on Saturday.


An Oklahoma man was killed when he tried to make a U-turn on Highway 23, and his Ford Bronco was struck by the semi driving directly behind him.


Devin Farah died at the scene.  The driver of the semi, Thomas Trulinger of Berthold, was not injured.


An Arizona man living in Lignite was also killed in a weekend accident.


The accident occurred just after noon Sunday, about 4 miles north of Kenmare.


Christopher Voll lost control of his vehicle on an icy Highway 52 and was t-boned by a pickup when the vehicle entered the north bound lane.


Voll died at the scene.  The driver of the other vehicle, a Saskatchewan man, was transported to Trinity Hospital in Minot.

Trenton edges LaMoure-Litchville-Marion at state B



MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Trenton Hove's fifth three-pointer of the second half with 13 seconds left lifted Trenton to a 43-42 win over LaMoure-Litchville-Marion in the third-place game Saturday at the North Dakota boys Class B basketball tournament.


Hove scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half for the Tigers (24-3), who trailed 18-16 at the half. Hove finished 7-for-14 from the field and 5-for-11 on three-pointers.


Trenton missed all 11 three-point shots in the first half but went 6-for-12 in the second half.


Jade Bentz had 10 points and 11 rebounds.


LaMoure-Litchville-Marion (22-4) failed to take advantage of Trenton's first-half shooting woes (22 percent). The Loboes shot 35 percent from the field.


Anthony Olson led LaMoure-LM with 17 points and 10 rebounds in Minot.

Study looks at school enrollment in ND's oil patch

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota State University has released a study that looks at school enrollment numbers over the next five years in the state's booming oil patch.


The study used three different models to gage what enrollment numbers would be for the 2017 through 2018 school year.


The first model showed that Dickinson's enrollment would increase by 500 in K-12 while Watford City would see 1,100 new students.


The second and most conservative estimate based public school enrollment on permanent employment trends. This model put enrollment in Dickinson at 3,391 and estimated that 1,167 students would be attending classes in Watford City.


The final model is based on housing potential and shows that Dickinson could see an 87 percent increase over this year's enrollment.

March is Women Veterans Month

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Jack Dalrymple has proclaimed March as "Women Veterans Month."


Dalrymple says he signed a proclamation to honor the generations of North Dakota women who have served and sacrificed on behalf of the state and nation.


Women veterans and service members from across the state were recognized during a ceremony last week at the state Capitol.


Dalrymple says North Dakota has more than 6,000 women veterans.

Fishing preview a mixed bag on Missouri River

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - State officials say that fishing on Lake Sakakawea should be as good as ever this season, but the Missouri River and Lake Oahe will be iffy at best.


Dave Fryda of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department says Lake Sakakawea is in great shape for walleyes, smallmouth bass and other species. He says that northern pike are "through the roof," but things don't look as good for rainbow smelt. Acoustic surveys show a 40 percent decline in smelt numbers. Fryda says that it's a hit the lake can take for at least a year.


The Missouri River and Lake Oahe are still trying to come back from the 2011 flooding that flushed smelt downstream. Fewer species are thriving in the system because of that flooding.

Little chance of major spring flood in Western ND

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The National Weather Service says the Missouri and James river basins in North Dakota have a below-normal risk of flooding this spring.
     The Souris River also is expected to remain well within its banks this spring in the Minot area, though minor flooding could occur in some rural areas.
     The region experienced historic flooding along the Souris in 2011.

ND woman accused of swindling man out of $595K

     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - A Dickinson woman accused of swindling a Billings County man out of more than half a million dollars has pleaded not guilty
     The Dickinson Press reports ( ) that 38-year-old Cynthia Ell faces 10 counts of felony theft by deception.
     Authorities allege that Ell placed misleading ads in two newspapers last year after opening a medical benefit account at a bank, and ended up swindling a Fairfield man out of about $595,000. She allegedly bought or helped buy seven vehicles under her and her children's names.
     A trial date was not immediately set.

ND Senate passes crime compensation measure

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Victims of a crime in North Dakota have 72 hours to report it to law enforcement in order to be compensated for losses under a state program.
     North Dakota's Senate endorsed a House bill on Thursday that extends that amount of time to 96 hours, or four days.
     North Dakota's crime victim compensation fund pays some medical and funeral costs and other expenses resulting from a crime.
     To receive the compensation, a victim must cooperate with the investigation and prosecution of the offender.
     The amount a victim can be compensated is capped at $25,000.

Man charged after shots fired in downtown Williston

Shots fired in downtown Williston.


A staff member of Heartbreakers in downtown Williston has been given several charges after firing a weapon following an altercation that occurred in the establishment.


Clarence Jackson has been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharge of a firearm within city limits, recklass endangerment, and possession of stolen property.


The incident occurred on February 23rd, around 12:30 in the morning. Law enforcement responded to a report of shots being fired outside of No Place Bar.


When they arrived, officers apprehended Jackson, who was seen jogging down the street.  When officers told him to show his hands, reports say they heard the clinking of metal on the pavement and found a Glock .40 calibur handgun under the vehicle he was next to.


Jackson worked security at Heartbreakers that evening. Reports say he had pulled out the handgun following an altercation with two patrons.


In addition to the charges Jackson recieved, the law prohibits carrying concealed weapons within liquor establishments.

ND businesses head to China for trade mission

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Fourteen North Dakota companies are traveling to China later this month to showcase the state's agricultural commodities and food products.
     The companies will travel March 16-23 to Beijing and Guangzhou in China to introduce North Dakota's food ingredients to the Chinese food manufacturing market.
     The trip will be led by Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and officials from the North Dakota Trade Office and the Northern Crops Institute.
     The trip includes a conference and exhibition where crop specialists will give presentations to Chinese buyers and chefs will prepare Chinese dishes with ingredients from North Dakota including flax, sunflowers, barley and wheat.


Occupied FEMA homes in Ward County down to 400

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The number of temporary federal housing units still occupied in Ward County has dropped to about 400.
     The Federal Emergency Management Agency made more than 2,000 mobile homes available to residents displaced by the historic Souris River flood in the summer of 2011. FEMA last year extended the temporary housing program by six months, through June 24, though the agency began charging rent at the beginning of this year.
     FEMA also is selling some of the temporary homes to the people living in them. At the end of February, 68 sales had been finalized.

Watford City mayor calls out state after deaths

     WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) - The deaths of two Watford City teenagers in a violent crash has the city's mayor calling for state officials to do more about traffic problems in the booming western oil patch.
     Mayor Brent Sanford tells The Bismarck Tribune ( thousands of trucks are traveling on two-lane highways, and local residents are afraid to venture out. He calls it "an absolute horror story."
     State Transportation Department spokeswoman Peggy Anderson says the state spent $50 million on U.S. Highway 85 improvements in the past two years and plans to spend another $300 million to convert the stretch between Watford City and Williston into four lanes.
     Seventeen-year-old Hank Allen and 18-year-old Austin McCaulley died Tuesday when the vehicle they were riding in slid on ice, collided with a semitrailer and split in half.

Violent crash kills 2 Watford City teens, injures third

     WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) - Two Watford City teenagers died when the sport utility vehicle they were riding in spun out of control on an icy highway in northwestern North Dakota, collided with an oncoming semitrailer and split in half.
     The Highway Patrol says 17-year-old Hank Allen and 18-year-old Austin McCaulley died at the scene Tuesday afternoon on U.S. Highway 85 west of Watford City in McKenzie County.
     The driver of the SUV, 17-year-old Fenton Matthew, of Watford City, was flown to a Minot hospital with unspecified injuries. The driver of the semi was not hurt.

ND tribe warns about dangerous oil filters

     NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) - Officials on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota say potentially radioactive filters used by the oil industry are being illegally dumped in fields and garbage containers and along roads.
     They say the filters that look like small nets might attract children and endanger their health.
     The filters are used to screen fluids at oil wells. Three Affiliated Tribes environmental official Edmund Baker tells The Bismarck Tribune ( ) that they're being found particularly in the Mandaree area.
     Baker plans to travel to communities throughout the reservation to alert residents to the danger.

Man charged in Dickinson hit-and-run death

     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - A negligent homicide charge has been filed against a man accused in a hit-and-run death in Dickinson late last year.
     Forty-seven-year-old Timothy Menges was arrested Monday in the Nov. 21 death of 47-year-old Tracy Freer. Police say Freer was struck by a pickup truck in the parking lot of the Queen City Motel.
     Sgt. Kylan Klauzer tells The Dickinson Press that tips led police to Menges. Klauzer says Menges is from the Missouri area, though court documents indicate he has been in Dickinson for at least the past year.
     Court documents do not list an attorney for Menges. He was due to make his initial court appearance Wednesday. The felony charge against him carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

ND Legislature to resume second-half work

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota lawmakers are slated to return to the Capitol Wednesday to kick off the second half of the 2013 Legislature.
     Members of the House and Senate finished voting on bills in their respective chambers last week and took a five-day break. The intermission is called "crossover."
     In the Legislature's second half, the Senate holds hearings and votes on bills that were first introduced in the House, and the House does the same for Senate measures.
     At the halfway point, 341 of the 511 House bills that passed and now go the Senate. In the Senate, 405 bills were introduced and 293 passed and will move on to the House.
     Legislators were paid during their vacation. They're paid $157 daily when the Legislature is in session, including Saturdays and Sundays.

ND withdraws application for No Child waiver

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler has withdrawn North Dakota's application for a waiver from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.
     States are allowed to opt out of the controversial law if they meet certain requirements including developing alternative standards that meet federal approval. Nearly three dozen states have been granted waivers. North Dakota applied last fall under former Superintendent Wayne Sanstead.
     Baesler says North Dakota officials couldn't come to an agreement with federal officials on the issue of reducing the number of students who are deemed "non-proficient."
     North Dakota will continue to operate under the No Child Left Behind regulations. Baesler says she will ask the state's congressional delegation to push Congress to change the law.

ND man sentenced to nearly 4 years for bar fight

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for a bar fight that happened nearly three years ago.
     Thirty-five-year-old Sean Conklin, of New Town, was charged in federal court with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
     Authorities say the incident happened in April 2010 at the Four Bears Casino and Lodge. Conklin allegedly struck a man in the face at the casino's entertainment bar.
     A jury found Conklin guilty in April 2012.
     U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland sentenced Conklin to three years and nine months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

Repairs nearly complete at Minot train depot

 Repairs nearly complete at Minot train depot
     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Amtrak says repair work at its depot in Minot is slated for completion soon.
     Passenger service was interrupted for five months in 2011 in Minot due to Souris River flooding. The depot and boarding platform were damaged by the high water.
     Amtrak spokesman Mark Magliari tells the Minot Daily News ( that the repair work should be done by late April.
     Amtrak had estimated the repair costs to be about $200,000.
     Information from: Minot Daily News,

Williston, Dickinson, looking to revitalize downtowns

     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Two cities in the middle of the western North Dakota oil patch are looking to spruce up their downtown areas.
     Officials in Dickinson and Williston are planning revitalization projects to help convince people to live and shop downtown.
     Williston recently lifted a six-month moratorium on new residential dwellings downtown and are looking for people to help with design changes.
     Dickinson has hired an Oregon consultant to outline a plan that would include new parking, business and residential buildings.
     Carson Steiner, a Dickinson city commissioner, tells the Dickinson Press that downtown revitalization will not happen overnight. But he says now is the time to take up the issue.

2012 ND crops valued at nearly $11 billion

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The value of crops produced in North Dakota last year totaled almost $11 billion, nearly doubling the $6 billion value of crops produced during flood-plagued 2011.
     The federal Agriculture Department computes the value by multiplying the average price during the marketing year for each crop by the production.
     The value of spring wheat, the state's staple crop, was $2.2 billion last year, up from $1.4 billion in 2011. The 2012 North Dakota soybean crop was valued at $2.3 billion and the corn crop at $2.9 billion - both well above 2011's totals.
     Sugar beet production values are not yet available for the 2012 crop.

UND Student Senate has no confidence in chancellor

     GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The University of North Dakota Student Senate has passed a vote of "no confidence" in state University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani.
     The Grand Forks Herald reports ( ) that the resolution that passed 9-5 on Sunday cites several alleged problems with Shirvani's leadership, including "a trend of fear" in the University System office.
     Other groups including the North Dakota Student Association also have passed votes of no confidence in Shirvani. The state Senate has approved money to buy out the last two years of his three-year contract.
     The state Board of Higher Education says it supports Shirvani, who says he was given a mandate by the board to fix problems including low graduation and student retention rates.
     Information from: Grand Forks Herald,

KY man pleads not guilty in fatal crash in ND

     DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) - A Kentucky National Guard soldier has pleaded not guilty to charges in a vehicle crash in North Dakota that killed two passengers and injured a third.
     Twenty-three-year-old Christopher Brandt, of Lowmansville, Ky., faces two counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless endangerment. KZZY radio reports that he could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
     Authorities allege Brandt was driving drunk at a high speed last Sept. 13 when he lost control of his car. The crash killed 31-year-old Ronald Forsyth and 23-year-old Jason Burnette. Brandt and 23-year-old David Duncan were injured.
     All four were Kentucky guardsmen undergoing military training at Camp Grafton, near Devils Lake.

Storm brings freezing drizzle, snow to the Dakotas

 FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A storm with freezing drizzle and snow is affecting motorists and schools throughout the Dakotas.
     The National Weather Service has issued various storm warnings and advisories in the two states through Monday night and into Tuesday in some areas. Forecasters say the storm is tracking from eastern Montana across the Dakotas and into Minnesota and Iowa.
     A blizzard warning is posted for northwestern North Dakota, with up to 15 inches of snow possible in areas near the Canadian border. Lesser but still-significant amounts are forecast for other areas.
     No travel is advised in parts of northwestern and southeastern North Dakota, and motorists are being urged to use caution in many in other areas. Several schools are starting late or calling off classes for the day. 

Alamo man dies in crash northeast of Williston

An Alamo man is dead following an early morning crash northeast of Williston.


Michael Esterby was killed when his Pontiac Grand Am was struck by an oil tanker.


The accident occurred just before 3:30 Friday morning.  Esterby’s vehicle was traveling north on Williams County Road 9 when his vehicle disregarded a stop sign and entered the intersection area.  His vehicle was then struck by a 2009 Kenworth traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 2.


Esterby died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.  Neither the tanker driver nor the passenger in the semi were injured.  No crude oil was spilled as the trailer was not damaged.

Transportation Dept. launches smartphone app

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Transportation Department has launched a smartphone app and an email or text message system to help give information to the public.
     The app provides access from a smartphone or a device such as an iPad to the department's travel information map that gives an overview of road conditions across the state. Advanced options also are available that provide access to such things as camera views.
     The email or text message service called GovDelivery enables people to be notified about information including road conditions, job openings and state fleet vehicle auctions.
     More information is available at .

Minot man pleads not guilty to attempted murder

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A Minot man accused of shooting another man after a dispute at a mobile home court has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.
     Thirty-one-year-old Brian Muzzy is accused of shooting 32-year-old Shaun Scott on Jan. 20. Muzzy entered his plea Thursday in state court. If convicted, he faces at least four years in prison and as many as 20 years.
     Muzzy also pleaded not guilty to a felony drug charge that could bring a sentence of 10 years in prison. Authorities allege he was caught with marijuana in his jail cell.

Victim in ND pickup-school bus crash identified

     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Authorities have identified a man who died in a collision with a school bus in southwestern North Dakota.
     The Highway Patrol says 59-year-old Paul Eddy of Craig, Colo., was driving a pickup truck that crossed the center line on state Highway 22 about three miles north of Dickinson on Thursday morning and struck the bus.
     There were no students on the bus. The bus driver and a passenger in Eddy's pickup were taken to a Dickinson hospital with undisclosed injuries.


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