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Local and Regional News Archives for 2013-04


Police: ND mom leaves son alone to shower


  WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A 39-year-old Williston woman is charged with neglecting her child after police say she left her cognitively impaired 10-year-old boy to guard a camper from intruders while she went to take a shower.
 
     Williams County District Judge Joshua Rustad last week found enough probable cause to send Carrie Tyler to trial on the charge of child neglect or abuse. The charge stems from a Feb. 25 incident in which Tyler's landlord called police and reported that the boy had been abandoned.
 
     A police officer talked to the boy, whose clothes were soiled. The boy told investigators that he needed to guard the camper so that "drunks and druggies" wouldn't break in.
 

Minot airman dies while deployed to Guam


     MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AP) - An airman from the Minot Air Force Base who was deployed to Guam has died.
 
     Airman First Class Joshua Grier was found unresponsive Saturday at Anderson Air Force Base on Guam. The 20-year-old was transferred to Guam Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 10: 30 a.m.
 
     The cause of Grier's death remains under investigation.
 
     Airman Grier is assigned to the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
 
     He deployed to Guam in March 2013 to provide support to the U.S. Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence in the region.

Flags to fly at half-staff for former ND governor


   BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Jack Dalrymple has directed all flags be flown at half-staff in North Dakota in honor of former Gov. William Guy.  
 
     Dalrymple says he's asking all flags to be at half-staff from sunrise Tuesday to sunset Thursday.
 
     Guy died Friday. He was 93.
 
     Guy was North Dakota's longest-serving governor. He was elected to four terms as governor from 1960 through 1972, but two of his races were for two-year terms. North Dakota's governorship did not carry a four-year term until 1964.
 
     Memorial services for Guy are slated Tuesday in Fargo and Thursday in Bismarck. A private burial is slated Thursday at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan.
 

Snow melt affects North Dakota farmers


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Rapidly melting snow has caused flooding in some areas of North Dakota. 
 
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its weekly crop report that on average, producers had just one day of suitable conditions for fieldwork last week.
 
     Calving was 83 percent complete, while lambing was 90 percent complete and shearing was 95 percent complete.
 
     Cattle and calf conditions were rated 2 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 64 percent good and 7 percent excellent.
 
     Sheep and lamb conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 64 percent good and 8 percent excellent
 

Refinery groundbreaking set for next month


MAKOTI, N.D. (AP) - The Three Affiliated Tribes has announced that it will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for North Dakota's newest refinery next month.
 
     The groundbreaking ceremony for the refinery, located west of Makoti, will be May 8 at 4:30 p.m.
 
     The ceremony will be held immediately after the closing of the MHA Nation's Annual Bakken Oil & Gas Expo.
 

ND to see another drop in deer gun licenses


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The number of deer gun hunting licenses that will be made available in North Dakota this year likely will be the lowest in three decades.
 
     Game and Fish Department Wildlife Chief Randy Kreil says the agency is proposing 59,500 licenses, a drop of 5,800 from last year and the lowest number since 1982. The majority of reductions will come in the northern and eastern parts of the state.
 
     Kreil says the tough, lingering winter has been hard on deer. And populations were already low due to three straight harsh winters beginning in 2008.
 
     Game and Fish will submit its proposal to the governor for his approval this week.

ND deadline extended for specialty crop grant apps


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has extended the application deadline for grants to help promote specialty crops.
 
     The deadline had been this coming Friday but Goehring has moved it to May 24. He says North Dakota and Minnesota have cooperated on a number of projects in the past, and the new deadline is closer to Minnesota's closing date.
 
     The federal Agricultural Marketing Service is expected to give North Dakota about $480,000 for the grants, which can be used for such purposes as developing new seed varieties, controlling pests and diseases and developing regional food systems. Grants are capped at $100,000.
 
     Specialty crops in North Dakota include dry beans, dry peas, lentils, potatoes, confection sunflowers, grapes, honey and vegetables.

Dalrymple to sign tougher ND DUI laws


    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Jack Dalrymple says he will sign legislation Monday aimed at strengthening penalties for drunken driving in North Dakota.
 
     The Legislature last week endorsed the bill that increases fines and other penalties. The new law will require jail time or community service work for first-time DUI offenders who have a blood alcohol content of 0.16 percent. That's twice the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent.
 
     The bill also would require mandatory participation in the so-called 24/7 sobriety program for repeat offenders.
 
     A second DUI arrest also would require a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail.
 
     Dalrymple says he will be joined at the bill signing by the bill's sponsors, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and members of families who have lost loved ones in an alcohol-related crash last year.

ND program destroys 700 pounds of drugs


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota program that collects unused medication to help fight prescription drug abuse has destroyed more than 700 pounds of Oxycontin and other drugs.
 
     Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the drugs collected through the Take Back program in the past four months were burned last week.
 
     The program was launched about three years ago and has collected almost two tons of unused medication. Disposal containers are located at police departments and sheriff's offices across the state.
 
     Saturday is designated as the national prescription drug Take Back Day.
 

ND Guard soldiers leaving for mission in DC


   GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - More than 200 North Dakota National Guard soldiers are leaving for a yearlong deployment to the Washington, D.C., area, for a homeland security mission.
 
     A send-off ceremony is scheduled Sunday morning at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks for the 1st Battalion of the 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Gov. Jack Dalrymple and state Guard commander Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk are expected to speak.
 
     The unit is headquartered in Grand Forks and has units in Bismarck and Fargo. The deploying soldiers come from 27 North Dakota communities and 12 cities in neighboring states.

Red River appears to have crested south of Fargo


FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The National Weather Service says the Red River appears to have crested about 50 miles upstream of Fargo, and it isn't a top 10 flood.
 
     The Weather Service says the river at Wahpeton likely reached its peak at lower than 14.5 feet. Initial predictions placed the crest at about 17 feet, but that changed because of a gentle snowmelt and little precipitation.
 
     Forecasters have said the Red River in Fargo should crest in the 37- to 39-foot range, which has led volunteers to sandbag about 200 homes.
 
     Fargo residents battled three straight major floods beginning with a record crest of 40.84 feet in 2009. The river in Wahpeton peaked that year at 17.50 feet. That was followed by crests of 16.49 feet in 2010 and 15.69 in 2011.
 

N. Dakota Legislature heads toward home stretch


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Legislature is headed down the session's home stretch, but first must find consensus on a host of spending plans and other last-minute measures before the state constitution's 80-day limit is imposed.
 
     Monday is Day 76.
 
     Some 50 bills remained at midday Friday, about 90 less than a week ago. That compares with about 25 bills that were still undone during the same period in the 2011 session.
 
     Gov. Jack had signed more than 390 bills into law as of Friday. Lawmakers began the session with 842 bills.
 

Williston Man is Missing


58-year-old Williston man Jack Sjol has disappeared and officers have not ruled out foul play.

Jack Sjol has been missing since April 24. Contact the sheriff's office with any information at 701-577-7700.

The Williston Police Department, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, North Dakota Highway Patrol and Northwest Narcotics Task Force are assisting The Williams County Sheriff's Office in the investigation.

Diesel fuel crime ring busted in ND oil patch


WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) - A Watford City man is accused of leading a crime ring that stole more than $10,000 in diesel fuel in McKenzie County.

 

Twenty-one-year-old Tyler DeFoe faces misdemeanor and felony charges including leading a criminal association. Court documents do not list an attorney for him and a home telephone listing could not immediately be found.

 

Authorities say they have linked DeFoe to 16 diesel thefts. He is alleged to have intimidated at least five juveniles into helping him.

Transportation Department finalizing its statewide transportation improvement program


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Transportation Department has finalized its statewide transportation improvement program for the next four years.
 
     The improvements include state and county highways, urban streets, roadway safety features, bikeways and busing programs. They're being funded with federal highway and transit funds.
 
     Details of the 2013-16 program are available for public viewing on the department's website, at http://www.dot.nd.gov .
 

Critics doubtful ND measures will curb wasted gas


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Legislation is headed to Gov. Jack Dalrymple that offers North Dakota oil drillers tax breaks to stop the intentional practice of burning and wasting natural gas.
 
     But critics believe the Republican-sponsored bills will do little or nothing to significantly stop the problem.
 
     Lawmakers have passed a pair of bills that give tax breaks to companies if natural gas is collected and used for agricultural, industrial and railroad purposes. Projects that also convert natural gas to such things as farm fertilizer or electricity also would be given incentives.
 
     More than 30 percent of the state's gas production is being burned off because development of the pipelines and processing facilities needed to handle it has not kept pace with production.
 

Program helps small lenders with oil patch lending


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A new program through the Bank of North Dakota is helping community banks combine resources to finance oil patch projects that none of the banks could do alone.

 

Commercial loan officer Tom Redmann says that the state-owned bank has now done two multi-bank loans - one of them for a $63 million housing project in Williston that involves more than a dozen banks.

 

Jeff Zarling is president of a business development firm based in Williston. He says community banks in North Dakota don't have the ability to finance deals of that magnitude on their own and national lenders don't have a presence in western North Dakota.

Bond reduced for suspect in crew camp stabbing


 WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Bond has been cut in half to $500,000 for a 31-year-old Michigan man accused of stabbing his friend to death last month at an oil field crew camp in western North Dakota.
 
     Ryan Anderson is charged with murdering 32-year-old Christopher King after an alcohol-fueled dispute at the Capital Lodge crew camp between Ray and Tioga.
 
     District Judge Joshua Rustad found probable cause to move forward on the murder charge during a hearing Wednesday at the Williams County Courthouse. Anderson pleaded not guilty.
 
     The judge dismissed an attempted murder charge, which Anderson had faced for allegedly trying to stab another man.
 
     Authorities say that Anderson and King were longtime friends who moved from Michigan to work in North Dakota's oil fields.
 

N. Dakota authorities arrest 2 on meth charges


WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Authorities in North Dakota have arrested two men on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine.

 

The Williams County Sheriff's Office says it received a report of two men smoking while traveling down Highway 2 Thursday morning. The two men fled deputies but were later apprehended.

 

Authorities seized approximately $100,000 worth of methamphetamine. The two men, both from Minot, were arrested on felony charges of possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

 

They are being held at the Williams County Correctional Center.

TV reporter fired for profanity to hit red carpet


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Bismarck news anchor whose profanity-laced television debut got him fired after one broadcast is already getting job offers.
 
     A.J. Clemente's first stint as an anchor at KFYR-TV on Sunday night was also his last after he uttered two obscenities just as cameras began to roll. Clemente was fired for the tongue-slip Monday. By Wednesday, he was making appearances on national talk shows as a bit of a celebrity. On "Live with Kelly and Michael," hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan offered Clemente a job interviewing celebrities on the red carpet at the premiere of Pierce Brosnan's "Love Is All You Need."
 
     A wide-eyed Clemente agreed to the challenge. Later, he tweeted photos from the set of "The Late Show" with David Letterman, where he was to appear Wednesday night.

North Dakota's House votes to strengthening drunken driving penalties.


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's House voted yesterday to strengthening drunken driving penalties. The measure requires jail time or community service for first-time DUI offenders who have blood alcohol content of 0.16 percent. Meanwhile, a second DUI arrest also would require a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail.
 

ND workers' comp handling more out-of-state claims


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The boom in the western North Dakota oil patch has led to a workload increase for the state's workers' compensation agency.

 

The number of claims by workers from other states is expected to increase from about 2,700 in 2010 to about 6,000 this year. The number of claims by people working in oil field jobs is expected to rise from about 750 in 2010 to 3,400 this year.

 

Workforce Safety and Insurance Director Bryan Klipfel says it's harder to manage claims by workers coming from other states, because they often want to get treatment back home rather than in North Dakota.

 

WSI has added nine adjustors over the last couple of years and also is adding 32 temporary employees, bringing the agency's workforce to about 270.

OSHA cites ND energy company for safety violations


 STANLEY, N.D. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Minot company with safety violations following the death of an oil field worker.
 
     OSHA says it has cited First Choice Energy of Minot with nine serious safety violations for exposing workers to unsafe conditions at an oil field drilling and fluid disposal operation in Stanley. The inspection was promoted by the death of a worker in March.
 
     The violations include lack of atmospheric testing, permitting, signs and emergency response procedures.
 
     OSHA has proposed fining the company $33,000.
 
     First Choice Energy has 15 business days to comply, request a meeting with OSHA or contest the findings.
 
     A call the First Choice Energy was not immediately returned.
 
 

Bill makes animal cruelty a felony in North Dakota


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Legislature has made cruelty to animals a felony.
 
     North Dakota's House endorsed the measure 80-12 on Wednesday. The Senate passed the bill earlier. It now heads to Gov. Jack Dalrymple for his signature.
 
     In cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment, a first offense would be a misdemeanor and a third within 10 years a felony.
 
     So-called usual and customary practices used in livestock production, animal racing, rodeos, hunting and fishing are exempt from North Dakota's animal mistreatment laws.
 
     Animal rights groups have said South Dakota and North Dakota were the only states without felony penalties for animal mistreatment.
 

Minot hosting 3-day Bakken Investor Conference


MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A three-day oil conference is getting under way in Minot.
 
     The third annual Bakken Investor Conference is Wednesday through Friday. It's expected to draw as many as 400 people from around the country.
 
     Organizers say the goal of the conference is to connect potential investors with opportunities in the western oil patch. It's targeted at investors who have a net worth of $1 million not including their home, or who earn $200,000 annually.

NTSB: Pilot error likely cause of fatal ND crash


VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) - Federal investigators say pilot error was the probable cause of an airplane crash last fall that killed a veteran North Dakota pilot.

 

Bob Odegaard died Sept. 7 when he crashed his vintage Super Corsair plane while practicing for a Valley City air show.

 

The National Transportation Safety Board says Odegaard made an acrobatic maneuver at an altitude that didn't allow him to fully recover the plane before it hit the ground.

 

The NTSB found no signs of a mechanical problem, though investigators said the extent of the damage didn't allow for a complete exam of the flight control system.

 

The 66-year-old Odegaard was a longtime pilot and airplane rebuilder who owned an aerial spraying business.

Williston suspends liquor licenses of strip clubs


 WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williston city commissioners have suspended the liquor licenses of the city's two strip clubs in response to what police say are excessive calls for disorderly behavior.
 
    Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night to suspend the license of Heartbreakers for 30 days and the license of Whispers for seven days.
 
     City Attorney Taylor Olson says the clubs have violated ordinances related to serving drunken customers, allowing patrons to take alcohol outside and maintaining an orderly establishment.
 
     Managers of both clubs deny the allegations. They've offered to pay for an off-duty police officer to park outside the clubs, but Police Chief Jim Lokken says officers aren't allowed to work for liquor establishments. He says the clubs could hire private security.
 

Dalrymple seeks emergency declaration for flooding


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Jack Dalrymple is requesting an emergency declaration from President Obama due to the strong potential for spring flooding in North Dakota.
 
     Dalrymple says current conditions show there is significant potential for severe flooding that could exceed local response capabilities.
 
     If approved, the presidential declaration would make available federal resources and financial assistance to help local and tribal jurisdictions recover costs associated with severe flooding. North Dakota would be eligible for federal funding to cover 75 percent of all eligible costs for flood protection measures incurred by communities and counties.
 
     Last month Dalrymple issued a state emergency declaration for counties and tribal nations that face a 50 percent chance of reaching or exceeding moderate flood stage.

 

 A crest prediction for Fargo-Moorhead could be released Wednesday.
 

ND man pleads not guilty in deaths of 100 cattle


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota man has pleaded not guilty to starving about 100 cattle to death.
 
     Forty-four-year-old James Schnabel is charged in McIntosh County with four misdemeanor counts of mistreating animals. He could face up to four years in jail if convicted.
 
     Forum Communications reports that court documents indicate Schnabel told authorities stray dogs chased some cattle into a shed in January, leading to trampling and suffocation deaths.
 
     A veterinarian concluded almost all of the dead cattle died of starvation.

Bismarck woman pleads guilty in case of home-alone kids


  BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Bismarck woman accused of leaving two toddlers home alone has pleaded guilty to felony child abuse or neglect.
 
     Twenty-six-year-old Bonnie Packineau was accused of leaving a 2-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl home alone on March 12. Authorities say a neighbor found the boy outside in 15-degree weather, screaming.
 
     Packineau told officers she went to Mandan to pick up a friend and could not handle all of her children in the car. She said during an earlier court appearance that she has a 7-month-old and a 5-year-old.
 
     Packineau could face up to 10 years in prison. A sentencing date was not immediately set.
 

Calum Kinstler gets charged with escape


Another inmate of the Williams County jail broke free during a courtroom hearing.  Nineteen year old Calum Kinstler escaped, but he wasn't gone long before authorities caught up with him and place him back behind bars.  Calum has been charged with numerous felonies for crimes in Williston and now, he's facing further felony charges.
 

Property values climbing in Williston


     Assessment numbers sent to property owners in the last week show little abatement in the climbing value of property in the Oil Patch city.
 
     Residential properties are up between 15 to 35 percent in the city, while commercial properties are up as much as 10 percent.
 
     Director of Tax and Equalization Shawna Gooch-Egge says that properties are selling for more than the city had assessed they were worth.
 
     The increased property values have some residents worried that their property taxes will also increase. City officials say not to fret yet because those are "two separate issues."
 

Forecast: Dakotas in store for weekend warm-up



     SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - After a cold and snowy early spring, residents of the Dakotas are looking forward to a weekend warm-up.
 
     The National Weather Service says high temperatures are expected to reach into the 50s and 60s in North Dakota and into the 60s and 70s in South Dakota.
 
     That will be a big change from nearly two weeks of stormy weather that has broken snowfall and cold temperature records in the two states.
 
     Another record fell Monday, when the temperature rose to only 31 degrees in Rapid City. The city also had its snowiest April on record, thanks to the 10 inches Sunday and Monday that pushed the monthly total to nearly 40 inches.
 
     But change is coming. Meteorologist Brad Adams in Sioux Falls puts it this way: "The weekend looks gorgeous."
 

ND oil patch clean-up effort to begin in New Town


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Petroleum Council's so-called Pick Up the Patch is slated to begin today in New Town.
 
     The effort is aimed at cleaning up garbage that's littering the oil patch in western North Dakota. It's being organized by New Town community leaders and oil and gas companies operating in the area.
 
     Similar clean-up efforts are slated this year in Williston and Parshall.
 
     The North Dakota Petroleum Council started the clean-up campaign last year complaints of the growing trash problem spurred by the oil boom.

TV reporter says he's fired for profanity on air


   BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A weekend news anchorman for a Bismarck television station says he was fired after he opened his first-ever broadcast with obscenities.
 
     A.J. Clemente says on Twitter that KFYR-TV fired him Monday.
 
     The NBC affiliate said in an earlier statement that Clemente was suspended following the Sunday evening broadcast. General manager Dick Heidt says he can't discuss the incident because it's a personnel matter.
 
     The station posted an apology online and co-anchorwoman Van Tieu also apologized during the 10 p.m. newscast.
 
     Video of Clemente's two-word uttering was immediately posted online via social media sites, and the hashtag "Keep AJ" started trending on Twitter in support of the self-described West Virginia University graduate.
 
     Clemente tweeted after the broadcast: "That couldn't have gone any worse!"

Cooler temps affecting fieldwork in N. Dakota


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Cooler temperatures and wet soil have further delayed fieldwork in North Dakota.
 
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its weekly crop report that on average, producers say they plan to start fieldwork by May 5.
 
     Livestock producers say they are concerned about the shortage of hay supplied since pastures are not yet available for grazing.
 
     Calving was 75 percent complete, while lambing was 82 percent complete.
 
     Cattle and calf conditions were rated 2 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 20 percent fair, 65 percent good and 8 percent excellent.

Bodine named deputy commissioner at Ag Department


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Tom Bodine has been named deputy commissioner in the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.
 
     Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring made the announcement Monday.
 
     Bodine was first appointed to deputy commissioner in June 2012. He resigned in December 2012 to work as director of public policy for the North Dakota Farm Bureau.
 
     As deputy commissioner, Bodine will oversee the organization of the Department of Agriculture and its day-to-day operations

Dalrymple seeks extension for FEMA housing program


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Jack Dalrymple has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to extend a temporary housing program to Minot and Ward County residents displaced by flooding in 2011.
 
     FEMA's temporary housing program for Minot-area residents impacted by Souris River flooding is scheduled to expire June 24. Dalrymple is requesting the program be extended 90 days.
 
     He says an extension would give the displaced residents more time to transition into permanent housing.
 
     The Souris River flood swamped 4,100 homes and other structures in Minot and Ward County. About 2,000 Minot-area households relied on FEMA's housing units for temporary shelter after the flood. Since then, 1,678 households have transitioned to permanent housing while 350 continue to rent FEMA's mobile housing units.

Load limits in place on all highways in ND


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - It's spring in North Dakota, even if the snow-covered countryside doesn't look like it. And that means load restrictions on roads.
 
     The state Transportation Department said load limits were in effect Monday on all state and federal highways in North Dakota. The seasonal load restrictions typically are first implemented in the southwest and then extended north and east as spring progresses.
 
     The weight restrictions guard against damage to roads made susceptible by the spring thaw. They're lifted when roadbeds have stabilized enough to handle normal traffic.
 

ND lawmakers move toward session deadline


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Legislature opened its session in January with more than 900 bills and resolutions.
 
     Monday is Day 71 of the state constitution's 80-day limit. More than 140 bills remain.
 
     Governor Jack Dalrymple has signed about 360 bills into law, including four anti-abortion bills that make North Dakota the strictest state in the nation in which to get the procedure.
 
     A dozen House resolutions have been killed to date and eight Senate resolutions have met the same fate.
 
     Several pieces of major legislation are still being negotiated by both chambers, including all remaining two-year budget and tax bills.
 

3 ND cities set record lows over the weekend


  BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Unseasonably cold weather continues to linger in North Dakota.
 
     The National Weather Service says Bismarck, Minot and Jamestown all set record-low temperature records for the date on Saturday, with the mercury dropping into the mid- and low teens.
 
     Bismarck's and Jamestown's records had stood for 47 years; Minot's for 86 years.
 
     Dickinson had a record low last Thursday, with 11 degrees.
 
     The weather service forecast shows a warm-up coming later in the week, with highs in the 50s and 60s on Friday.

ND hunting and fishing fees increasing next year


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand says increases in the state's hunting, fishing and boat registration fees have strong support.
 
     The Legislature approved the fee increases. Steinwand says there was "overwhelming support" among lawmakers, hunters and anglers during committee hearings, and also at public meetings around the state last fall.
 
     Steinwand says he thinks the increases strike a proper balance between supporting habitat, fisheries, access and enforcement while not pricing anyone out of the outdoors experience.
 
     The boat registration fees go up next January. Hunters and anglers will begin paying more for licenses in April 2014. Information on specific fees can be found on the Game and Fish website, at http://www.gf.nd.gov .
 

Williston man faces 14 charges in thefts, crashes


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A 19-year-old Williston man accused of robbing two businesses and then ramming vehicles into two other businesses faces 14 charges.
 
     Calum Kinstler has been accused of ramming a vehicle into Ryan Motors and stealing a vehicle. He also is accused with ramming a vehicle into MonDak Motorsports and leading police on a chase before he left the vehicle and escaped on foot.  He was arrested when he later reported the vehicle used in the second ramming as stolen.
 
     Kinstler also is charged with robberies at two gas stations.
 
     He has been charged with robbery, theft, criminal mischief, fleeing or attempting to elude police, burglary and attempted burglary, carrying a concealed weapon, making false reports to law enforcement and possession of drug paraphernalia.

ND Sen. Hoeven says missile silos should be kept


MINOT, N.D. (AP) - U.S. Senator John Hoeven has told the commander of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command that the nation's missile silos are a long-term defense asset that should not be degraded.
 
     The Republican senator told Lieutenant General James Kowalski that he opposes any effort to reduce the number of nuclear missile silos. Hoeven says he will work on the Senate Appropriations Committee to oppose such plans.
 
     Defense Department officials have said they want the Air Force to study the possibility of eliminating some intercontinental ballistic missile silos.
 
     The 91st Missile Wing at North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base has 150 Minuteman Three missiles in underground facilities in northwestern North Dakota. Hoeven says if the number of missiles is reduced, empty silos should be retained.
 

9 apply to be sheriff in western ND's Dunn county


MANNING, N.D. (AP) - Nine people have applied for the job of sheriff in western North Dakota's Dunn County.
 
     The previous sheriff, Don Rockvoy, resigned to work as a truck driver in the state's oil patch.
 
     Denise Griffin, who is in charge of human resources for Dunn County, tells the Dickinson Press that a selection committee will decide which of the nine candidates to bring in for initial interviews. She says she wants to narrow the list of candidates, with maybe the top two eventually being interviewed by the county commission.
 
     The Dunn County sheriff is elected to a four-year-term. The candidate selected to replace Rockvoy will complete the remainder of his term, which ends in 2014.

Williston shooter identified


The Williston Police Department has identified the man who fired shots at officers Thursday afternoon. Ernest Schroeder, 59, is being charged with reckless endangerment. Schroeder is currently in the Williams County Jail after being arrested Thursday. The investigation is continuing. Schroeder was injured during a shootout with police in the 400 block of West Broadway on Thursday. After being medically cleared, he was transported to the jail.

ND Senate approves $5M grant for tribal colleges


    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Senate has approved a measure that would provide $5 million to tribal colleges for job training.
 
     The Senate approved the measure Thursday. The House earlier endorsed the measure.
 
     Tribal colleges in Fort Totten, Fort Yates, Belcourt and Bismarck can apply for the grant money from the state Commerce Department. The measure says the grant money must be divided equally among tribal colleges that apply for funding.
 
     The Fort Berthold Community College in New Town does not qualify because it has an unemployment rate of lower than 30 percent. The reservation is in the heart of western North Dakota's booming oil patch.

Judge will rule in favor of abortion law challenge


 FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A judge says he plans to rule in favor of North Dakota's lone abortion clinic in its challenge to shoot down a 2011 state law that would limit certain abortions.
 
     The lawsuit by the Red River Women's Clinic says the bill that limits one of two drugs used in medication abortions takes away an important choice for women and is unconstitutional.
 
     Judge Wickham Corwin said Thursday at the end of the civil trial that he's likely to "ultimately rule that all of the challenge provisions are unconstitutional."
 
     Corwin had earlier blocked the law from taking effect.
 
     Assistant Attorney General Doug Anderson says the state would likely appeal the ruling.
 

Williston shooting ends with suspect shot


  WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A shootout between Williston police and a man who barricaded himself in a home ended when the man was shot and surrendered.
 
     Officers responded to the home midafternoon Thursday after receiving a call from a woman saying a man had fired a gun inside. The man shot at officers and they returned fire, hitting him twice. No officers or bystanders were hit.
 
     The man eventually left the home on his own, and officers escorted him to a waiting ambulance. His condition and identity were not immediately released.

Shots fired in Williston


Williston police have responded to a home on West Broadway after a call of shots fired. Officers arriving on the scene gave reported shots fired in their direction. There are no reports of injuries but an ambulance was called to the area to be on standby. Police say the subject barricaded in a home on West Broadway has been hit at least one time by police who returned fire. The subject who barricaded himself in a home on West Broadway has turned himself in and left the home. An ambulance has arrived at the scene, and the subject is being escorted by police to the ambulance. More details will be announced as they are available.

Crime spree ends


Crime Spree Broken

Authorities in Williston are pleased to report  they have made a major arrest in connection to last week's crime spree: Williston police say 19-year-old Calum Kinstler is responsible for two armed robberies in Williston. He is also responsible for the burglary at Ryan Motors, in which a $50,000 Dodge Challenger was driven thru the show-room window. Kinstler is also responsible for the burglary at Mondak Motorsports. 19 year old Calum Kinstler is now facing 10 seperate felony charges.

ND power plant operator might take oil field waste


UNDERWOOD, N.D. (AP) - A power plant company is considering burying oil field waste in a mostly empty coal ash pit near Underwood.
 
     Great River Energy is holding meetings this week with area residents about a possible state permit application to handle up to 300,000 tons of oil field waste annually.
 
     Great River Energy operates the Coal Creek Station plant near Underwood. Spokesman Al Christianson says the company's board is only studying the project and has not formally applied to the state Health Department to change its waste disposal permit.
 

Numerous crashes reported on ND Highway 22


DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Slick conditions on state Highway 22 in western North Dakota's Dunn County on Wednesday led to a series of vehicle crashes involving 13 people.

 

Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Haugen says that there were no serious injuries, but it took crews three hours to clear the area.

 

Haugen says people were driving too fast for the conditions, and the crashes could have been prevented.

Fargo AirSho canceled after Blue Angels grounded


 FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Organizers have canceled this year's Fargo AirSho in the wake of the decision by the Navy to ground the Blue Angels flying team because of federal budget cuts.
 
     Officials say the loss of the headline event was a major factor in canceling the AirSho but there were other reasons, as well. Other branches of the military have cut back on supporting air shows, and the main food vendor for Fargo's show also suspended operations because of other air shows canceling events.
 
     The Fargo AirSho had been scheduled for Aug. 10-11.

Virgil Hill is training for his final fight


GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - While North Dakota boxer Virgil Hill trains for his final fight, he's also training one of his sons for his pro boxing debut.

 

Twenty-three-year-old Virgil Hill Jr. recently was released by the St. Louis Cardinals pro baseball team and is now focusing on boxing. Forty-nine-year-old Virgil Hill Sr. says that his son likely will fight in the super middleweight division.

 

Hill Sr. is a five-time world champion and an Olympic silver medalist and is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June. He announced in February that he wanted one last fight in North Dakota to thank his fans. He says he hopes the bout can happen this fall, in Grand Forks, Bismarck or Fargo.

Heitkamp votes against expanded gun sale checks


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp says she couldn't support a measure to tighten restrictions on the sale of guns because it focuses on the wrong issue.
 
     A measure to expand background checks for the sale of guns failed in the Senate. Heitkamp was one of five Senate Democrats who voted against it. She was elected to the Senate last year.
 
     In a statement issued earlier in the day, Hietkamp says she has thought a lot about the background-check measure and has heard from North Dakotans. She says her duty is to listen to and represent the people of her state.
 
     Heitkamp says she believes the focus of gun safety should be on mental health issues, full and accurate reporting to a national database that keeps track of those not eligible to buy guns, and making sure criminals are prosecuted.

Farm Rescue banquet to feature benefit concert


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Farm Rescue nonprofit's annual banquet this fall will feature a benefit concert by country music singer Jason Brown.
 
     North Dakota-based Farm Rescue provides planting and harvesting help to farmers in the Dakotas, eastern Montana, Minnesota and Iowa who have suffered a major injury, illness or disaster. Brown was born and raised in Iowa, and he says helping farmers in crisis is "just the right thing to do."
 
     Farm Rescue was launched in 2006 and helped its 200th farmer last year. That figure is likely to approach 250 by the end of this year.
 
     Farm Rescue's annual banquet is Nov. 1 at the Best Western Ramkota in Bismarck.

ND Gov. Dalrymple signs Medicaid expansion bill


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed legislation to expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured residents of North Dakota.
 
     North Dakota's Medicaid program now covers about 65,000 people a month. Dalrymple's endorsement on Tuesday means an additional 20,000 people - mostly adults without children - would be added to the program.
 
     Medicaid expansion is a component of the federal Affordable Care Act championed by President Barack Obama
 
     The Legislature reluctantly voted last week to expand Medicaid. GOP lawmakers in both chambers said they felt forced to vote to expand Medicaid because of the added to costs residents if they didn't.
 
     The federal government has agreed to pay 100 percent of the cost for newly insured Medicaid recipients through 2016, with the state's contribution rising in stages to 10 percent.

ND governor directs flags flown at half-staff


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple has directed that U.S. and North Dakota flags be flown at half-staff out of respect for victims of Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon.
 
     Dalrymple says flags are to be flown at half-staff until sunset Saturday in accordance with a directive from President Barack Obama.

North Dakota February oil production sets record


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Department of Mineral Resources says North Dakota pumped a record number of barrels of oil daily in February.
 
     Preliminary figures show the state produced an average of about 779,000 barrels per day in February. That's up from about 738,000 barrels daily in January and about 20,000 more barrels daily than the previous record set in December.
 
     The agency says the number of production wells increased from 8,342 in January to 8,492 in February.
 
     The February tally is the latest figure available because oil production numbers typically lag at least two months.

ND oil tax trust fund tops $1B


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's oil tax fund has topped $1 billion 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.
 
     April deposits were $80.5 million. That brings the fund's total to nearly $1.01 billion.
 
     Oil revenue began gushing into the fund only since September 2011. Analysts initially estimated it would have a $618 million balance when the state's current two-year budget period ends on June 30.

Jury: Wis. dad responsible in killing 3 daughters


     HUDSON, Wis. (AP) - Jurors in western Wisconsin say a father from North Dakota had a mental defect but is still responsible for killing his three young daughters last July.
 
     Aaron Schaffhausen pleaded guilty last month to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia. But he argued he was not responsible because of a mental illness.
 
     Jurors deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours before reaching their verdict.
 
     During closing arguments Tuesday, prosecutor Gary Freyberg said Schaffhausen was in control of his actions and was a mean, callous person - but not legally insane.
 
     Defense attorney John Kucinski argued Schaffhausen has a rare mental disorder, rooted in a deep dependency on his ex-wife.
 
     The jury found he had the capacity to know what he did was wrong.

Suspect briefly escapes from Williston police


     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A 21-year-old inmate briefly escaped police custody while in court and ran several blocks wearing his black-and-white-striped prison garb before being recaptured.
 
     Matthew Powers was in Williston's Municipal Court facing misdemeanor theft charges Monday when he exited through a door of the law enforcement center's lower level.
 
     Detective David Peterson sayd that Powers was recaptured at a home at 9th and Main streets within minutes.
 
     Powers now faces a charge of escaping custody.

Suspect arrested at Williston police station


WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A 19-year-old man accused of ramming his vehicle into a Williston business has been arrested after he attempted to report the car had been stolen.

 

Williston Police Detective David Peterson says Calum Kinstler allegedly rammed his vehicle repeatedly into the glass entry doors at MonDak Motorsports Thursday night. Officers pursued the vehicle until Kinstler abandoned it and fled on foot.

 

Peterson says officers seized the station wagon, but Kinstler was arrested the next day when he came into the law enforcement center to report the vehicle stolen.

 

Kinstler faces charges of attempted burglary, criminal mischief, fleeing or attempting to elude police, making false reports to law enforcement officers, and carrying a concealed or dangerous weapon in a vehicle.

ND Tax Dept. extends filing time for taxpayers


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's top-ranking tax official has decided to help people who missed Monday's filing deadline because of the severe winter storm.
 
     Tax Commissioner Cory Fong says his office will waive penalties and interest for these taxpayers.
 
     Fong says taxpayers are encouraged to file their returns in a reasonable time, however. 
 
     State Capitol offices did not open on time Monday because of the Sunday snowstorm. And Sen. John Hoeven says the Internal Revenue Service has agreed to extend the deadline for filing tax returns in North Dakota, and waive penalties for late returns, because of the storm.

Dakotans call Boston Marathon bombings tragic


 FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The director of the Fargo Marathon in North Dakota's largest city says the bombings at the Boston Marathon "chills me."
 
     Mark Knutson says that he met recently with Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray and "my heart goes out to him."
 
     The explosions at the finish line in Boston killed three people and wounded more than 140 people. Knutson says the Fargo Marathon will "take whatever steps necessary" to boost security but that something like this is hard to prevent.
 
     The Fargo Marathon is expected to attract more than 20,000 runners May 18.
 
     Many residents of the Dakotas who took part in the Boston Marathon on Monday say they were horrified by what happened and felt lucky to be safe.
 

Cold, snowy weather affects North Dakota farmers


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The weekend blizzard that dumped 4 to 20 inches of wet, heavy snow across North Dakota will delay fieldwork even further.
 
     The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in its weekly crop report that there was hardly any time suitable for fieldwork in the past week. Moisture supplies have improved, but spring planting continues to be well behind last year's early progress.
 
     Calving was 64 percent complete, while lambing was 74 percent complete.
 
     Cattle and calf conditions were rated 3 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 23 percent fair, 57 percent good and 10 percent excellent.

Snow storm in Dakotas sets several records


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Everyone from students to lawmakers are getting the day off after a record-breaking snow storm in North Dakota over the weekend.
 
     National Weather Service reports show as much as a foot and a half of snow fell in western and central North Dakota and northern South Dakota on Sunday.
 
     The 17.3 inches of snow that fell in Bismarck set several records, including the most snow on any day of any year in the city. Fargo set a city record for the date with 6.3 inches. In South Dakota, Aberdeen set a city record for the date with 8 inches.
 
     Many schools in North Dakota and northern South Dakota are closed or starting late, with roads closed or impassable. The North Dakota Legislature has canceled its Monday session.
 

I-29 reopens in eastern ND; I-94 remains closed


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Transportation officials have reopened Interstate 29 between Fargo and Grand Forks in eastern North Dakota and U.S. Highway 83 between Bismarck and Underwood in the central part of the state.
 
     However, they are still advising no travel because of a record-setting snow storm.
 
     The Sunday storm dropped as much as a foot and a half of snow in western and central North Dakota, and lesser amounts in the east. Interstate 94 remains closed from the Minnesota border to the Montana border.
 
     No travel is advised in much of the state.

ND Legislature cancels Monday session due to storm


 BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Legislature has canceled its Monday session because of the spring snowstorm that has made travel difficult or impossible in much of the state.
 
     On a notice posted on its website, the Legislature announced that lawmakers planned to resume work Tuesday.
 

Trial over N.D. abortion law


  BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A trial over an abortion law passed by North Dakota lawmakers two years ago is scheduled to begin tomorrow in Fargo. New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is representing the Red River Women Clinic in Fargo in a lawsuit over a 2011 law banning the widely accepted use of a medication that induces abortion. A judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of the law.
 

NDSU gets grant to study pharmacy services


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota State University researchers have received a grant to study medical management services provided by pharmacists.
 
     David Scott of NDSU says the study will seek to improve patents' compliance with prescriptions.
 
     Scott says hospitalizations and emergency room visits should be reduced if people take medications as prescribed. He says the study will place North Dakota at the forefront of efforts to better coordinate care between pharmacists and doctors.

ND Tax Dept. open late on filing deadline day


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - It's April 15 - the deadline to file taxes. North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong says his office at the state Capitol in Bismarck will be open until 9 p.m. to accommodate last-minute filers.
 
     Fong says keeping the office open four extra hours will enable more taxpayers to get answers to last-minute questions, and will accommodate people dropping off their state return in person.
 
     The north door of the Capitol building will be open until 9 p.m. Monday. The Tax Department office is on the 16th floor.
 
     State Capitol offices aren't opening until noon, however, because of the Sunday snow storm..

Heavy snow expected in North Dakota


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The entire state of North Dakota is under a winter storm warning as heavy snow is expected to develop across the state overnight.
 
     The new system is moving in Sunday morning on the heels of a South Dakota storm that brought freezing rain and heavy snow that snapped tree branches and downed power lines.
 
     The National Weather Service says 6 to 12 inches of snow is expected across North Dakota through this evening, and the snow may be mixed with freezing rain or sleet in the southeast part of the state.
 
     The snow is expected to grow heavy on Sunday for most areas, with increasing easterly winds causing blowing snow and significantly reduced visibilities.
 
     The highest snow totals are expected from the Devils Lake Basin into northeast North Dakota.

Comment period extended for New Town bypass


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Transportation Department has extended the public comment period for a proposed truck bypass around New Town.
 
     The cutoff had been April 3, but officials extended it until April 25th because of an incorrect mailing address provided at a recent public hearing on the project.
 
     The bypass would route oil field truck traffic around New Town, relieving traffic congestion on state Highway 23 through the city. A two-lane road would be constructed northeast of New Town connecting Highway 23 with state Highway 1804.
 
     The state-funded project could cost up to $19 million.

Crystal Sugar union workers ratify contract


     GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - Union workers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa who have been locked out of their jobs for 20 months at American Crystal Sugar Company have voted to ratify the company's proposed contract. Fifty-five percent voted this weekend to accept the contract offer. It was the workers' fifth time voting on the contract. American Crystal is the country's largest sugar beet processor.

Casselton teacher receiving national ag award


     CASSELTON, N.D. (AP) - A Casselton teacher is receiving a national award for her work in teaching agriculture in the classroom.
 
     North Dakota's Agriculture Department says Central Cass fourth-grade teacher Mary Kensok is one of five educators from around the country being honored at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in late June in Minneapolis.
 
     The "Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture" award is presented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization.

Watford City mayor wants lower speed limit on Highway 85


 

     WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) - The mayor of Watford City is advocating for a lower speed limit on U.S. Highway 85 in the region to try to cut down on traffic crashes.
 
     The highway is a major artery in the booming western North Dakota oil patch, and it has become heavy with truck traffic. That has led to more accidents, including one last month that tore a vehicle in half and killed two teenage boys.
 
     The highway is being widened to four lanes, but in the meantime Mayor Brent Sanford wants the speed limit in the area reduced from 65 mph to 55 mph.
 
     The state Transportation Department says more than one-fourth of all traffic fatalities in the state so far this year have been in McKenzie County.

ND measure increases starting teacher salaries


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Senate has approved a $1.8 billion K-12 education budget that includes a bump in minimum salaries for starting teachers.
 
     The measure would increase the minimum salary of a teacher from $22,500 to $27,500.
 
     The North Dakota Education Association says the average starting salary for a teacher in the state is $32,000.
 
     Democratic Sen. Joan Heckaman of New Rockford proposed an amendment to raise the minimum salary for a starting teacher to $32,000. But Senators defeated that measure 31-14.

Williston to get 3 more police officers


 

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williston's police chief asked city commissioners for approval to hire one officer, but they did him two better.
 
     The commission on Tuesday gave Police Chief Jim Lokken permission to hire three officers after Lokken said "it'd be nice" to have more help. He says that since the start of North Dakota's oil boom, the number of officers has increased from 22 to 38 to combat more crime. The department has also added two dispatchers, a code compliance officer and a data entry secretary. 
 
     The Williston Herald reported (http://bit.ly/10OUQoU ) that Lokken had asked for permission to hire back an officer who wanted to return after leaving a few months ago to work as a state trooper. 
 
     Budget woes have forced many cities nationwide to cut police officers.
     ---
     Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com 

Western ND bighorn sheep population healthy


 

     MEDORA, N.D. (AP) - The bighorn sheep population in North Dakota has increased to its second-highest level on record.
 
     The state Game and Fish Department says its annual March sheep survey in the Badlands found 297 bighorns, up 5 percent from last year. The count doesn't include about 30 bighorns in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
 
     Big Game Biologist Brett Wiedmann (WEED'-man) says nearly all of the lambs counted during a survey last summer survived the winter. But Wiedmann says the healthy lamb numbers probably won't translate into more hunting licenses for several years because the number of rams remains much lower than it was five years ago.
 
     Game and Fish has issued four bighorn licenses for this year, the same as last year.
 
     

Oil industry wants change to ND tribal oil taxes


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's oil industry is endorsing a change to a revenue sharing agreement that the state has had with the Three Affiliated Tribes since 2008. 
 
     The agreement limits oil tax rates on Fort Berthold Reservation land, and spells out how the state and tribal governments will share oil revenues.
 
     State Tax Department records show that since the agreement was adopted, the state has collected $315 million, with the tribe getting $201 million. The state's cut also is shared with local governments.
 
     North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness says the tribes deserve a greater share of the taxes collected from reservation oil production to help with road building in the region.
 
     Ness says poor roads on the reservation add as much as $100 million annually to oil companies' cost.
 
 
     

Minot attempted murder suspect changes plea


 

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A Minot man accused of shooting another man after a dispute at a mobile home court has changed his plea on an attempted murder charge.
 
     Trial was set this week for 31-year-old Brian Muzzy but it was called off after he entered an Alford plea, which means he does not admit guilt but acknowledges there likely is enough evidence to convict him.
 
     Muzzy was charged with shooting 32-year-old Shaun Scott on Jan. 20 He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced June 14.
 
     The Minot Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/16P3BU0 ) that Muzzy also faces a felony drug charge for allegedly possessing marijuana while in jail. He has not yet entered a plea.
     ---
     Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com 

Man injured in blast at oil patch business


 

     ALEXANDER, N.D. (AP) - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating an explosion at a business in the western North Dakota oil patch that injured a man.
 
     The McKenzie County Sheriff's Office says 29-year-old Aaron Callantine, of Alexander, was flown to a Minneapolis burn center after the Wednesday morning blast at Youngquist Brothers Oil and Gas Shop.
 
     Details on Callantine's injuries and condition were not released.

ND AG wants $10M to battle oil patch crime


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says organized crime and other illegal activity is increasing with the skyrocketing population in the state's booming oil patch.
 
     The Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to support Stenehjem's request to provide $10 million for additional law enforcement support in western North Dakota.
 
     North Dakota's Senate and House still must approve the budget amendment.
 
     Stenehjem says the money would go to help cities and counties deal with the increased crime. 
 
     He says some 65 law enforcement officers have been hired in the past year in the region but officials are still overwhelmed by the increase in crime.

Two people injured in Monday rollover west of Williston


 

Two people were injured in a Monday night rollover west of Williston.
 
The accident happened around 10:30 at night, four miles west of town.  
 
21-year-old Alexander Mikkelsen was driving a 1996 GMC Sierra on West Front Street when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and left the roadway.
 
The vehicle overturned in a ditch, ejecting Mikkelsen and female passenger Krystal Wheeler, age 18.  Another passenger in the vehicle, Christina Drake, age 22, was not injured in the crash.
 
Drake was the only person involved wearing a seat belt.
 
The injured driver and passenger were taken to Mercy Medical Center for treatment.

ND Senate OKs rapid enrollment grants for schools


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Senate has endorsed a measure that would provide grant money to schools experiencing rapid growth in enrollment.
 
     The Senate approved the measure 33-14 on Tuesday. The House approved the bill 70-23 in February.
 
     The amount of funding varied between the two chambers. The measure will now likely head to a conference committee to work on reconciling the differences.

North Dakota State Fair tickets go on sale


 

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota State Fair tickets are going on sale.
 
     The fair scheduled the start of ticket sales for 8 a.m. Wednesday. Tickets include the grandstand show pass, rock concert tickets, the mega-ride carnival pass, gate admission, camping passes and others.
 
     The grandstand show pass includes seven events, including concerts by country stars Tim McGraw, Scotty McCreery and Toby Keith. The scheduled rock concerts are Journey and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
 
     The fair in Minot is July 19-27. More information on tickets can be found at http://www.ndstatefair.com.
 
     

Women plead guilty to beating man with his canes


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Two North Dakota women accused of beating a man with his walking canes and stealing his money have pleaded guilty to assault charges.
 
     Brittany Lafountain, of Belcourt, and Shamra Campbell, of Minot, are charged in federal court with assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
 
     Authorities say the 23-year-old Lafountain and 45-year-old Campbell assaulted the man on Aug. 2 at his residence in Belcourt. The victim was hospitalized for his injuries.
 
     The assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors have agreed to drop robbery charges.
 
     Sentencing is scheduled for Campbell on June 10 and Lafountain on June 24.

ND Legislature: Stun guns not "dangerous weapon"


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Legislature says electronic stun guns should not be listed as a dangerous weapon under state law.
 
     North Dakota's Senate endorsed a measure 46-1 Monday that exempts the zapping devices from the definition of a dangerous weapon. The House overwhelmingly endorsed the measure 92-0 last week.
 
     Bismarck Republican Sen. Margaret Sitte (SIHT'-ee) says stun guns are becoming increasingly popular with women who live in western North Dakota's booming oil patch.
 

Man accused of trying to smuggle people into US


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A man is accused of spearheading an operation to smuggle people into the United States at the border of North Dakota and Canada.
 
     Darwin Catarero-Sanchez is charged in federal court with bringing people into the country illegally and harboring them. He has not been asked to enter a plea.
 
     Court documents show that Catarero-Sanchez and seven other people were arrested about 1:30 a.m. on April 6 after they were found walking along a highway near Sherwood.
 
     Catarero-Sanchez allegedly arranged transportation for the group from Montreal. Witnesses say he agreed to smuggle one person into the U.S. for $2,000 and another for $1,500.
 
     U.S. Border Patrol agents detained a total of 11 people in the case. Three people are charged with illegal entry.
 
     Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.
 

Officals: Oil tax distribution falls short


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - City, county and school officials have told the North Dakota Senate Appropriations Committee that more than $200 million should be restored in a measure that distributes oil and gas tax revenue.
 
     The Senate Finance and Taxation Committee had stripped the money from a House bill that had proposed more than $737 million be divided up between political subdivisions over the next two years.
 
     Officials from oil-producing counties told senators that the proposed $531 million in funding won't come close to meeting the needs for such things as road building and repair, utilities, housing and schools.
 
     Sen. Ray Holmberg is chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The Grand Forks Republican says the group could have a recommendation on the funding level this week.

 

Two more businesses burglarized in Williston


   Two more burglaries to report in Williston.

 

   TJ Agnes South theatre was vandalized and burglarized sometime between midnight Monday morning and 3PM Monday afternoon. An undetermined amount of cash taken.

 

   Early Tuesday morning, Arby's in Williston was burglarized. The burglary happened between 3:00 and 3:48 AM.

 

   Williston Police are still collecting information on the burglaries. That makes four burglaries in Williston and two armed robberies since last weekend.  Over the weekend both Pizza Hut locations reported being burglarized.  Early Monday morning, armed robberies occurred at both Super Pumper on 2nd Avenue West and Kum & Go on 2nd Street.

Hoeven says 2 Obama nominees should visit ND


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven is trying to get two nominees for leadership positions in the Obama administration to visit North Dakota.
 
     Hoeven says Secretary of Interior candidate Sally Jewell and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator hopeful Gina McCarthy should see North Dakota's energy industry firsthand.
 
     If confirmed, Jewell will oversee federal lands, natural resources and Native American programs. Hoeven says North Dakota is a key player in the nation's energy development and much of the activity is on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
 
     McCarthy currently services as assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. 
 

Report: ND jobs increase by 31 percent since 2000


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A report by the North Dakota Department of Commerce shows that the state has created more than 100,000 new jobs since 2000.
 
     The figures show that North Dakota had an average employment count of 429,800 in 2012, compared to 327,700 workers in 2000. That's an increase of more than 31 percent.
 
     The report says the state added 70,000 jobs in the last five years, including 33,000 in 2012.
 
     Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson says he expects more jobs to be created as the state focuses on "greater economic diversification."
 
 

ND Legislature: Oil taxes, abortion


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Conference committees will be hard at work reconciling differing versions of bills in the waning weeks of the North Dakota Legislature.
 
     The 2013 legislative session will hit its 62nd day Monday. The state Constitution limits the Legislature to 80 days of meetings every two years.
 
     Still ahead are big topics, including oil taxes, a tribal agreement and an unsigned abortion bill.
 
     Gov. Jack Dalrymple has already signed three anti-abortion bills into law that would make the state most restrictive in the nation to get the procedure. A pending bill would also outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point.
 
     The Republican governor has hinted he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
 

Two armed robberies Monday morning in Williston


   Two armed robberies occurred early this morning in Williston.

 

   The first incident happened at about 3:00AM at the Super Pumper location on the 1600 block 2nd Ave W. A man entered, cloaked in a bandana and sunglasses, and requested money.

 

   The second occurred about a half hour later at the Kum and Go location on 2nd street. The man in that robbery was described as wearing a bulky hooded jacket, a bandana, and had a firearm.

 

   The Williston Police Department has not commented yet on whether they believe the robberies are related or not, as information is still coming in.  Information on any money taken during the robberies is not available yet.

Dickinson Catholic Schools dumps its board members


     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - All seven lay members of the Dickinson Catholic Schools Board of Education have been dismissed, and officials aren't saying why.
 
     The dismissal during a meeting Thursday night follows the April 1 resignation of Superintendent Kelly Koppinger.
 
     Bismarck Diocese spokesman Matthew Kurtz says Koppinger left for another opportunity, and priests on the board decided it would be a good time to restructure. He didn't elaborate.
 
     The network includes Trinity High School and two elementary schools. Four priests and a chaplain will take over governance of the network until a new board is in place.
 
     Board chairman the Rev. Todd Kreitinger didn't immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment Friday.
 

Minot State Faculty: No confidence in chancellor


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Professors at Minot State University have approved a resolution of "no confidence" in embattled North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani.
 
     A faculty representative says 94 percent of voters approved the measure. A similar resolution was passed earlier by the North Dakota Student Association.
 
     Board of Higher Education President Duaine Espegaard said in a statement released by Shirvani's office that he's disappointed about the latest resolution and called most of the faculty's claims against Shirvani "little more than an attempted character assassination."
 
     The resolution cites what faculty believes to be breakdowns in communication, the diminishing roles of college presidents, proposed changes in admission standards that could affect accreditation, and the board's willingness to "completely empower an individual with a track record of conflict, antagonism, and de-stabilization."

    

Heitkamp says ND needs to offer affordable housing


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says the state is in dire need of affordable housing.
 
     Heitkamp told citizens at a community meeting in Fargo Friday that North Dakota must offer more affordable homes in order to retain and attract qualified workers.
 
     Heitkamp says in places like Minot, in the heart of oil country, vacant lots are now priced at $110,000.
 
     The Democratic senator also points out a change in federal law on how large banks operate, which she says has made it impossible for small community banks to finance home loans.
 
     Heitkamp says North Dakota has become "too small to succeed."
 
     The Forum newspaper reports (http://bit.ly/XieieP) that Heitkamp is holding community meetings around the state to get suggestions from residents on housing needs.
     ---
     Information from: The Forum, http://www.in-forum.com
 

Portion of ND oil taxes used for conservation fund


    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Senate has endorsed a measure that would set aside a portion of the state's oil and gas production tax to a wildlife conservation fund.
 
     The Senate approved the measure 33-12 Thursday. North Dakota's House endorsed the measure in February.
 
     The measure would provide up to $15 million in a fiscal year for the so-called North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund.
 
     Backers say revenue from the fund is meant to provide access to private and public lands and develop fish and wildlife habitat.

Heitkamp says she now supports gay marriage


     WASHINGTON (AP) - North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is reversing a previous stance and says she now supports gay marriage.
 
     In a statement, the freshman Democratic senator says that after much personal reflection she's concluded that the federal government shouldn't discriminate against "people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other."
 
     Heitkamp says she views the ability of anyone to marry as "a logical extension of this belief."
 
     While the makeup of families is changing, she says the importance of family is enduring. 
 
     Heitkamp is the latest Democratic senator to announce her support for gay marriage. That leaves only five Democrats in the Senate who have not gotten behind gay marriage. Two Republican Senators, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rob Portman of Ohio, have also announced their support for gay marriage.
 

Souris expected to hit at least minor flood stage


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The Souris River is projected to attain at least minor flood stage in Minot in the latest outlook from the National Weather Service.
 
     The Minot Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/12nI3iy) that there are no indications of a repeat of the damaging flood levels of 2011.
 
     The Weather Service says late snow melt will likely cause minor to moderate flood stage at nearly every recording point from where the river enters North Dakota near Sherwood to where it exits the state near Westhope.
 
     The amount of water being released from three reservoirs on the Souris in Saskatchewan is slightly more than 2,300 cubic feet per second.
 
     Hydrologist Allen Schlag says the hope is that the induced high water will be equal to what's seen when the snowmelt's in full force.
     ---
     Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com
 

Pipeline pitched to ship Bakken oil across Wyoming


     DOUGLAS, Wyo. (AP) - A company proposes to build a nearly 500-mile pipeline that would feed oil from North Dakota's booming Bakken oil field into another pipeline in eastern Wyoming.
 
     The 12-inch pipeline would cost $300 million. Initial capacity would be 50,000 barrels a day but the pipe could handle up to twice that. Oil would begin flowing in August 2014.
 
     The pipeline is proposed by Hiland Crude, a subsidiary of Oklahoma-based Hiland Partners. The Casper Star-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/ZBKlD7) Hiland Vice President Jim Suttle discussed the pipeline with Converse County commissioners in Douglas on Wednesday.
 
     Suttle told the commissioners the goal is to get the Bakken oil to a hub in Cushing, Okla., where the oil would fetch a better price.
 
     The pipeline would connect at Guernsey to the Pony Express Pipeline under development.
     ---
     Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com

 

Pride of Dakota Day at Capitol


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The state Capitol building is being transformed into a North Dakota products shopping mall for a day.
 
     Thursday is the annual Pride of Dakota Day at the Capitol. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says more than 30 Pride of Dakota companies will be sampling and selling everything from food to jewelry.
 
     There also are breakfast and lunch specials in the Capitol Cafe.
 
     The Agriculture Department's Pride of Dakota branding program has more than 500 member companies.
 
 

Park's Painted Canyon could open by Memorial Day


 

     MEDORA, N.D. (AP) - A popular lookout rest area and tourist attraction that serves as a gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park could open by May 25.
 
     Park Superintendent Valerie Naylor tells the Dickinson Press (http://bit.ly/10B47Qk) that an agreement was reached Wednesday to open Painted Canyon Overlook by Memorial Day, 
 
     Naylor says some "unexpected savings" were discovered that will allow the overlook along Interstate 94 to open. Officials had decided not to open the overlook in April because of the automatic federal spending cuts that took effect March 1. 
 
     Naylor says the plan is to staff the Painted Canyon Visitor Center, located seven miles east of Medora along Interstate 94, with park employees as it normally would.
 
     Painted Canyon would remain open throughout the summer and likely close sometime in September.
     ---
     Information from: The Dickinson Press, http://www.thedickinsonpress.com 

Fargo court orders offenders to help fill sandbags


 

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Fargo Municipal Court judges have begun ordering some minor offenders to serve time at Sandbag Central.
 
     Sandbag Central is a Fargo storage building where volunteers are working to fill 1 million sandbags in 10 days to protect against expected Red River flooding. Operations started on Wednesday.
 
     Fargo Municipal Court Judge Steve Dawson says some people who may have otherwise received sentences of community service and are capable of performing physical labor are being told to fill bags.
 
     Dawson says the sandbag sentences benefit the community and reduce the cost to taxpayers instead of more expensive sentencing alternatives.
 
     The National Weather Service says the river has a 50-50 chance of reaching 38 feet in Fargo, which would be the fifth highest flood on record.
 

Second victim in Williston camper fire identified


     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Authorities have identified the second of two people who died in last week's camper fire in Williston.
 
     The Williams County Sheriff's Office says 46-year-old DeeAnna Nerland of Washington state died in the March 25 blaze. Officials say they're waiting on DNA results.
 
     Earlier, the sheriff's office identified 47-year-old Lawrence Norman, of Kelso, Wash., as the other victim.
 
     Authorities say the cause of death was smoke inhalation.
 
     The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Complaint filed against ND Higher Ed board


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The former president of Mayville State and Valley City State University has filed a complaint against the North Dakota Board of Higher Education.
 
     KFGO reports that Ellen Chaffee filed the complaint with the Higher Learning Commission, which handles accreditation for colleges and universities.
 
     Chaffee alleges that the Board of Higher Education is violating the Higher Learning Commission's policies by cutting itself off from direct contact with the state's universities and presidents.
 
     Chaffee says the sole source of information now comes from Chancellor Hamid Shirvani. Shirvani has come under fire from some legislators, students and others for his management style.
 
     Higher Education Board President Duaine Espegard says he needs to review the complaint before commenting.
 

Requests to put abortion laws to statewide vote


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Abortion rights activists plan to circulate petitions to bring three anti-abortion measures to a statewide vote.
 
     Secretary of State Al Jaeger says his office received the requests Tuesday afternoon. Gary Hangsleben of Grand Forks is listed as chairman of the sponsoring committee.
 
     Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed abortion bills last week that would make North Dakota the most restrictive state in the nation to get the procedure. One measure would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected. Another would prohibit women from having an abortion because a fetus has a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome. 
 
     A third measure would require a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.
 

Corps ups flow at dam northwest of Minot


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has increased the outflow from the Lake Darling Dam northwest of Minot because of an updated forecast by the National Weather Service and the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency.
 
     The corps says the Lake Darling flow was upped to 1,500 cubic feet per second after the agencies conducted aerial surveys of the basin and confirmed additional water content within the snowpack on the ground in Canada.
 
     The corps says it is continuing to monitor ice conditions downstream of the dam and is regulating outflows to minimize potential ice jams. Ice conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate in the coming days.
 
     The corps assumed control of Lake Darling Dam from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on March 19.

 

Man held without bond in Williston homicide case


     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A 46-year-old Idaho man brought from Montana to face murder and reckless endangerment charges in Williston is being held without bond.
 
     The Williston Herald reports (http://bit.ly/Yvni1i) that Judge David Nelson decided Monday to hold Jonathan Horvath for a preliminary hearing and arraignment on April 23.
 
     Horvath is accused of shooting 28-year-old Derrick Spiegel of Williston March 16 on a sidewalk outside the Heartbreakers bar following arguments. Police in an affidavit say that two or three shots were fired, with three spent 9 millimeter casings found at the scene.
 
     Horvath was captured in Billings, Mont., on March 18.
 
     At Monday's hearing in Williston, Horvath defended fleeing the scene, saying he wanted to make sure his dog was taken somewhere safe before he came back to fight the charges.
 

Sex-ed amendment struck from ND abortion bill


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota legislative negotiators have killed an amendment to an anti-abortion bill that had threatened a three-year, $1.2 million federal sex education grant for North Dakota State University.
 
     A conference committee of three House members and three senators voted unanimously Tuesday to delete the amendment from a Senate measure. The bill is aimed at outlawing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point. 
 
     Republican Rep. Bette Grande of Fargo sponsored the amendment to halt NDSU's grant, which provides funding for voluntary sex education to Fargo-area teens with parental consent. 
 
     The House voted last month include the amendment in a measure. The original Senate bill will now get a vote in the House.
 

April is "Pride of Dakota Month" in North Dakota


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Jack Dalrymple says North Dakota is a world leader in the production of quality farm and home-crafted products, and he's proclaimed April as Pride of Dakota Month.
 
     The state Agriculture Department's Pride of Dakota branding program is in its 28th year. It has more than 500 members.
 
     Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says special activities this month include the Pride of Dakota annual meeting on Wednesday and Pride of Dakota Day at the Capitol on Thursday.
 

Spring ground breaking for refinery near Makoti


     MAKOTI, N.D. (AP) - The Three Affiliated Tribes is planning to break ground this spring on a $400 million refinery near Makoti.
 
     Project chief executive Rich Mayer tells the Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/11gfCAd) that the facility will be capable of refining 20,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil into diesel fuel, propane and naphtha products.
 
     Makoti is near the northeastern corner of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, about 30 miles southwest of Minot.
 
     In October, then Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited Fort Berthold to announce the transfer of 469 acres near Makoti into trust status. The refinery will use 190 acres and the remaining acreage will be for feed production for the tribes' buffalo herd.
 
     Mayer says the tribes are working on the initial phases of engineering and completing financing.
     ---
     Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

 

Fargo preparing to open sandbag filling operations


 

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Fargo officials are preparing for volunteers to fill sandbags.
 
     The city plans to fill 1 million sandbags in preparation for spring flood along the Red River and its tributaries. Half of those bags will be available to Cass County residents.
 
     The latest flood outlook by the National Weather Service gives a 50 percent chance of the river topping out at 20 feet above flood stage in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn.
 
     Fargo's volunteer hotline will be accepting calls Monday. Sandbag operations are scheduled to start Wednesday at a city storage facility.
 
     The hotline number is 701-476-4000.
 

ND bighorn sheep license auctions for record $75K


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota bighorn sheep hunting license sold at auction for a record $75,000.
 
     The license was auctioned March 23 at the annual meeting in Minnesota of the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department says the high bid broke the record of $50,000 set in 2007.
 
     North Dakota's auction license allows the winning bidder the rare chance to pursue a bighorn on a self-guided hunt. The money raised goes toward sheep management. Since 1986, more than $1 million has been raised through the program.

Erdrich to get Rough Rider Award, top ND honor


 

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Jack Dalrymple has named author Louise Erdrich (UR'-drihk) as the 39th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state's top honor.
 
     Dalrymple will present Erdrich with the award during a ceremony in Wahpeton April 19. A portrait of her eventually will hang in the state Capitol in Bismarck with the other recipients of the award.
 
     Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton. Dalrymple says she has maintained her strong ties to the state while becoming a prominent figure in the field of literature.
 
     Erdrich's book "The Plague of Doves" was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. Her latest novel, "The Round House," won the National Book Award.
 
     Erdrich was born in Minnesota and lives there now but says she'll always consider North Dakota her home.
 

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