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Monday, February 8th 2016
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment

Travel alert issued for northeast, southeast North Dakota

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Strong winds, reduced visibility and icy roads were expected to make driving hazardous eastern North Dakota Sunday.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol on Sunday issued travel alerts for the northeast and southeast parts of the state. Officials said motorists in Grand Forks, Cavalier, Drayton and Graton should not travel.

Drivers in communities including Fargo, Casselton and Devil's Lake and the surrounding areas were urged to use extra caution.

A blizzard warning is in effect for parts of northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota until 6 a.m. Sunday, with wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour.

The National Weather Service also issued a winter weather advisory for the Red River Valley, from Grand Forks to Fargo. Snow was expected to continue into Sunday night.


Man fatally shot in southeastern ND

(Information in the following story is from: KFGO-AM, http://www.kfgo.com)

ENDERLIN, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a man is dead after a shooting in Enderlin in southeastern North Dakota.

Ransom County Sheriff Darren Benneweis says the victim was found dead when first responders arrived at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

KFBO-AM reports investigators are looking for a Ford F-150 pickup, possibly silver in color.

Sheriff's offices from Ransom, Cass and Barnes counties, along with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, are working on the case.


North Dakota Democrats working to rebuild downtrodden party

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Democrats have endured decades of doldrums, but they have plans to rebuild.

Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen says Democrats are putting a renewed focus on local races, to build strength and nurture future statewide leaders.

College Democrats of North Dakota Director Jed Hanson says Democrats also are taking the reins on such issues as tuition capping, affordable health care and diversity that are important to young people.

It might be too late to make any inroads this year in the Republican domination of the state. Two months before their state convention, Democrats have no announced candidates for statewide offices.

Republican Party Chairman Kelly Armstrong cites that party's history of fiscal conservancy, tax relief and business-friendly regulation as reasons for its vitality and says, "I definitely like our position."


Williston district to hold bond referendum on new school

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A school district in Williston is holding a bond referendum on a new school as officials seek to alleviate student overcrowding.

The Herald reports that voting will be held Tuesday on the referendum for a new kindergarten through eighth grade school in New Public School District Number 8. A bond referendum for a kindergarten through 12th grade school failed to pass last year.

The district has had to buy more modular buildings in order to meet the needs of a growing student population.

Several informational sessions on the new bond referendum have been held. Superintendent Rob Turner says many of those who opposed the last referendum are on board with the proposed school.


Several projects in works at southwest North Dakota schools

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Several schools in southwestern North Dakota are in the midst of or have plans for major construction projects.

The Bismarck Tribune reports projects include a new $26 million Catholic secondary school in Dickinson slated to be finished by January. Trinity Junior High and High School's 225 students are using modular rooms and parts of the facility that didn't burn in a 2014 fire.

Dickinson Public Schools is in the middle of building a new middle school, and two smaller school districts near Dickinson have proposed major construction projects.

South Heart School District is holding an $11 million bond referendum in March on a new building. Richardton-Taylor Public Schools is considering a $15 million remodel of the junior high and high school building.


Stark County moving forward on sheriff's office renovations

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Stark County is moving forward on an estimated $1 million renovation of its sheriff's office in an effort to alleviate health concerns.

KFYR-TV reports the Stark County Commissioners this week approved the second phase of renovations at the Dickinson Law Enforcement Center.

Stark County Sheriff Terry Oestreich says employees last year began to experience respiratory problems while working in the office. He says tests showed the building has low humidity and needs a new air handling system.

The commissioners approved Oestreich's request to move forward with the design component of the project.

Oestreich says he would like to have renovations complete by September.


Jail expansion project in Ward County on schedule, budget

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Officials say a $38 million project that will more than double the capacity of the Ward County Jail is on schedule and on budget.

Officials with Adolphson and Peterson Construction this week told a building committee in Ward County it's possible the county could have a half-million dollar surplus.

Senior project manager Brian Kunz says that number could grow even higher, possibly allowing commissioners to add additional components to the project, like more cells.

KXMC-TV reports that Kunz says the latest group of bids includes local companies and good prices. He says it will be a month to six weeks before they choose the winning bidders.

The company expects the project to be finished in 2018.


Minot State University developing new strategic plan

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Minot State University is developing a new strategic plan to set goals over the next decade.

School officials want community members to provide input by filing out a survey that can be found online at https://survey.minotstateu.edu/classclimate/online.php?p=MSU-SP2016 .

The survey will be open through February 15th.


USDA awards $200,000 in federal funding to NDSU for research

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded researchers at North Dakota State University $200,000 to research wheat diseases.

U.S. Senator John Hoeven (HOH'-ven) announced the funding on Friday.

Hoeven says that $150,000 will go to NDSU researcher's to develop a new approach to address wheat tan spot disease. He says $50,000 will go to support the deployment of sustainable disease and pest resistance in wheat.

The funding comes from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Hoeven says researchers at NDSU are on the cutting edge of the agriculture industry.


People who want to darkhouse spearfish reminded to register

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Game and Fish Department is reminding people who want to take part in darkhouse spearfishing that they must first register with the agency.

The season for northern pike and nongame species opened in December and runs through March 15th.

Darkhouse spearing is open to all residents with a valid fishing license and to residents under age 16. Out-of-state anglers may darkhouse spearfish in North Dakota if they're from a state that offers the same privilege to North Dakota residents.

Registration can be done online, or through any Game and Fish office.

Last year, a record 3,339 people registered to darkhouse spearfish in North Dakota.


Man pleads guilty to possession of several machine guns

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A western North Dakota man accused of having assault-type guns in his possession has pleaded guilty to an illegal weapons charge.

Ronnie Nikodym of Bismarck is charged in federal court with possession and manufacture of illegal firearms. Authorities say he had six machine guns in his possession and sold two of the guns in Dickinson.

Nikodym pleaded guilty to the possession charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. In exchange for the plea, the manufacture charge would be dropped.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 18th in Bismarck.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, February 7th 2016
Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment

Crews help man escape burning house in Fargo

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Fire officials say crews helped a resident escape through a basement window after a house caught fire in Fargo.

Firefighters responded to the house on 26th Avenue South about 4:30 a.m. Saturday and saw the resident trying to escape. The crews pulled the occupant out of the window, and an ambulance crew took the person to a local hospital. The patient's condition was not known.

Officials say four other occupants who were inside the house made it out safely with no injuries.

No other structures were damaged, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.


Spring wild turkey season license application deadline nears

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Time is running out for North Dakota hunters to get a wild turkey license for the spring hunting season.

The application deadline is Wednesday. The season opens April 9th and continues through May 15th.

The state Game and Fish Department is offering 5,815 wild turkey licenses for the spring season, the same as last year. Hunting Unit 21 in Hettinger and Adams counties will remain closed to hunting this year due to a low number of turkeys there.


Lincoln City Council votes to collect overpayment of wages

(Information in the following story is from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com)

LINCOLN, N.D. (AP) — The Lincoln City Council has voted to collect the overpayment of wages to city employees through lawyers.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that the council voted to authorize Vogel Law Firm to proceed with collection efforts from employees after a discussion during a 21-minute closed meeting.

The move was made in the wake of the January 25th resignation of deputy auditor McKenzie Forman.

Turnover has been frequent in the city auditor's office during the past 18 months, with three auditors replaced since October 2014. Paula Hunt was named city auditor last fall.

Lincoln Mayor Gerarld Wise says the city has gone through a lot of effort to get the situation cleaned up, and Hunt has taken on a huge responsibility. He says he feels the effort is being sabotaged.


Dunn Center library shuttering; books to be donated

(Information in the following story is from: KXMB-TV, http://www.kxnet.com)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Dunn Center Public Library is closing due to lack of use.

KXMB reports that the library has been operating for since 2004

Anne Vaagen helped start the library. She says as more people turn computers, fewer patrons are coming through the library's doors.

The library is donating its books to other towns across the state.


City asking for mental health records of fired city attorney

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The city of Minot is asking a federal judge to require a fired city employee to turn over mental health records since 1994 as part of an ongoing legal battle.

Former city attorney Colleen Auer says in a lawsuit she was fired illegally in retaliation for a discrimination complaint she had filed while employed by the city. She argues there is nothing in the law that would require her to give up the mental health records.

Auer was fired in May 2014 after only about a month on the job for alleged insubordination. She earlier filed grievances with the state Labor Department and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Auer seeks reinstatement and money damages. The city says her claims are frivolous and the case should be dismissed.


Authorities say man killed in a crash in McKenzie County

ALEXANDER, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been killed in a crash in McKenzie County.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol says a GMC Sierra pickup truck was heading south on an icy U.S. Highway 85 about 18 miles north of Alexander just before 8 a.m. Friday when another pickup driver lost control of his GMC Jimmy truck. The Jimmy rotated and crossed into the northbound lanes, striking the passenger side of the Sierra and killing that truck's driver.

This crash remains under investigation and names have not been released.


62-year-old Walhalla man injured in off-road vehicle crash

MILTON, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a 62-year-old Walhalla man has been hospitalized after he lost control of an off-road vehicle about six miles southeast of Milton.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol says the man was heading north on 101st Street N.E. about six miles west of Highway 32 about 6 p.m. Friday when he lost control, causing the vehicle to turn sideways until it hit a rut in a ditch. The vehicle rolled and ejected the man, who was not wearing a helmet.

Friends put the man on another off-road vehicle and drove him to a Cavalier hospital. He was transferred to a Grand Forks hospital and his condition is not known. His name was not released.


Jacobson leads North Dakota State over IPFW 62-46

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A.J. Jacobson made five 3-pointers and scored 22 points and North Dakota State knocked off Summit League leader IPFW 62-46 Saturday.

Jacobson was 8 of 12 from the field with Kory Brown adding 10 points and Dexter Werner contributing nine points and nine rebounds for the Bison (16-8, 6-4), who shot 42 percent and outrebounded the Mastodons 40-35.

Michael Calder made 4 of 7 3-point attempts and scored 18 points for IPFW (19-7, 8-3), which came in on a three-game win streak and a half-game league lead. The Mastodons were only 16 of 56 from the field for 29 percent.

The Bison scored the first 11 points of the game and were never headed. IPFW cut a 12-point halftime deficit to five but Jacobson had a pair of 3-pointers and a free throw for another 12-point advantage with 11 minutes left and the lead stayed in double figures.


North Dakota drops Weber State 78-71

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Geno Crandall had 21 points on Saturday with a one-handed, tomahawk dunk in the final seconds to round off North Dakota's 78-71 victory over Weber State.

The Fighting Hawks (12-10, 7-4 Big Sky) led by eight at the break and never trailed in the second half. The Wildcats (16-7, 8-2) hung around and threatened late when Ryan Richardson's 3-pointer pulled them within 64-59.

But North Dakota made 12 of 14 free throws before Crandall's final dunk to ward off Weber State in the final two minutes. The Wildcats scored 12 in the same time frame, including Jeremy Senglin's two 3-pointers.

Quinton Hooker added 18 points for North Dakota. Drick Bernstine and Conner Avants scored 12 apiece and Adam McDermott had 11.

Senglin had 16 of his 28 points in the second half and finished 7 of 11 from 3-point range. Joel Bolomboy added 13 points and Richardson 11 for the Wildcats.

Saturday, February 6th 2016
Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
AP-ND--Right Now/787
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment

Republican Party hosting gubernatorial debate in Bismarck

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Republican Party will host a gubernatorial debate next month in Bismarck.

GOP party officials say they want to showcase their three conservative candidates for governor. Rick Becker, Doug Burgum and Wayne Stenehjem will all take part in the debate at the Belle Mehus Auditorium on March 9.

The debate will be moderated by conservative radio host Scott Hennen, Prairie Public News Director Dave Thompson and Donnell Preskey Hushka, a lobbyist for the North Dakota Association of Counties.

Each candidate will receive a block of tickets. The remainder will be distributed through the party's headquarters on a first-come, first-served basis.


Residents near NDSU push back against student apartments

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — City commissioners in Fargo have put off voting on zoning changes for two proposed apartment complexes that could house hundreds of students near the North Dakota State University campus.

KFGO-AM reports the Fargo Planning Commission this week deferred decisions on the two apartment complexes following concerns from residents.

One of the proposed apartments is a 72-unit complex and the other could provide housing for more than 700 students.

Jim Lashkowitz lives in the Roosevelt neighborhood near one of the proposed sites.

Lashkowitz told commissioners one of Fargo's biggest problems is a lack of single family housing. He says the proposal would remove that in favor of high-density housing.

Project backers need the zoning change to proceed. They say they're working to mitigate the concerns of residents.


Minot Air Force Base economic impact estimated at $600M

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Minot Air Force Base officials say the facility contributed nearly $600 million to the local economy last year.

The base each year estimates its economic impact. The 2015 figure of $597.2 million was up more than 3 percent from the previous year, despite a drop in personnel and the lowest spending on construction in five years.

The annual report takes into account base payroll, expenditures and indirect jobs created.

The northern North Dakota base has about 12,000 personnel overseeing B-52 bombers and Minuteman Three intercontinental ballistic missiles.


Minot hiring federal compliance officer for $74M flood grant

(Information in the following story is from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com)

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The city of Minot is adding a federal compliance officer to ensure proper spending of a $74 million federal grant to help with flood resilience projects.

The Minot Daily News reports that the City Council recently approved advertising the position with an annual salary range of $57,000 to $75,000, paid by the grant.

Minot is one of 13 communities sharing in about $1 billion through the Housing and Urban Development's National Disaster Resiliency Competition. The competitive program is designed to help communities recover from a disaster and enhance their resilience in future disasters.

The Souris (SUR'-ihs) River in June 2011 swamped part of Minot, damaging or destroying more than 4,000 homes and other structures and causing nearly $700 million in damage.


Jury finds Mandan man guilty on manslaughter, arson charges

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — A Mandan man accused of killing a friend and setting a mobile home on fire to cover up the crime has been convicted on a lesser charge.

Rodney Friesz was initially charged with murder and arson. A Morton County jury on Friday found the 50-year-old man guilty of manslaughter and arson after deliberating for nearly eight hours.

Authorities allege Friesz shot 62-year-old Gene Jassmann in the head with a .22-caliber rifle after the two argued, then lit the home on fire.

Defense attorney Monty Mertz maintained throughout the trial that Friesz acted in self-defense. Prosecutor Brian Grosinger argued that a person acting in self-defense doesn't light a home on fire.

Mertz says the maximum penalty for each felony charge is 10 years in prison.


Bismarck police arrest suspect in Pita Pit tip jar pilfer

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bismarck police have arrested a suspect in the theft of a tip jar from a fast food restaurant.

The jar with $400 in it went missing from the Pita Pit on December 29th when the lone worker in the business at the time went into a back room. Surveillance camera footage showed two males grabbing the jar and fleeing.

The money was to fund an employee Christmas party, and news of the theft led to more than $1,200 in donations.

Authorities arrested a 22-year-old man on Thursday. Formal charges were pending.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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