AG signs letter asking EPA to delay implementing water rule
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (STEN'-jem) joined counterparts and other officials in 30 other states in asking the Environmental Protection Agency to delay the implementation of a new federal water rule.
Stenehjem on Wednesday said he signed a letter that was sent to the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In June, several states led by North Dakota filed a federal lawsuit over the same rule change.
Federal officials say the "Waters of the U.S." rule clarifies which waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act. The rule is set to go into effect Aug. 28.
At least 27 states, national agriculture and land organizations, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have filed complaints in federal districts courts around the country since the rule was published in June.
Standing Rock council votes to banish meth, heroin dealers
FORT YATES, N.D. (AP) — The council of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has voted to banish and exclude any adult found to be selling methamphetamine, heroin and other drugs on the reservation that straddles the Dakotas' border.
The tribal council on Wednesday said the decision "did not come overnight." Instead, the council says it came after months of deliberations and reports from members on "the horrors that are committed against Standing Rock citizens while people are under the influence" of drugs.
The tribe is still developing the process that would lead to the banishment of offenders.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota earlier this month moved to dis-enroll and banish for life anyone convicted of dealing meth on the reservation. Two years ago, North Dakota's Three Affiliated Tribes approved a similar resolution.
ND CRIME STATS
Attorney General: ND crime per capita up 4.4 percent in 2014
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says North Dakota's crime rate per capita last year rose 4.4 percent from 2013.
Stenehjem released the data Wednesday at the state Capitol in Bismarck.
Stenehjem says one area of concern is the upward trend in illegal drugs in North Dakota. He says arrests for drug offenses increased almost 18 percent last year, to 4,000.
Stenehjem says aggravated assaults were down 1 percent last year. He says it was the first time in at least 15 years aggravated assaults were down.
There were 6,705 drunken driving arrests last year, down from 7,117 in 2013.
There were 19 murders in North Dakota last year, up from 14 in 2013.
62 people take two-day bar exam in North Dakota
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court says 62 people have taken the bar exam this week, the lowest number of July examinees since 2009.
The applicants began the exam Tuesday with multistate performance tests and essays. They finished Wednesday.
North Dakota's exam is comprised of the Uniform Bar Examination, which allows examinees to apply for admission to the bar in other states that accept the UBE scores.
The Supreme Court says 66 percent of the applicants are graduates from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
Relative: Family shot after offering help to stranded driver
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLILNGS, Mont. (AP) — A relative says his aunt, uncle and cousin were gunned down when they stopped to help a man whose vehicle had run out of gas on Montana's Crow Indian Reservation.
FBI spokesman Todd Palmer confirms that two people were killed and a third wounded Wednesday morning in the tiny town of Pryor. He says a suspect was later arrested in Wyoming.
Palmer couldn't say what led to the shooting and didn't release the victims' names or relationships.
Bryce Hugs tells the Billings Gazette that his aunt, Tana Shane, drove by the stranded man, then returned with her husband and daughter to help.
Hugs says the man opened fire, killing Tana and Jason Shane and wounding their daughter, Jora Shane.
Hugs did not immediately return messages to the Associated Press yesterday.
North Dakota attorney general to release annual crime report
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is slated to release North Dakota's annual crime report.
Stenehjem will release the document on Wednesday at the state Capitol in Bismarck.
The annual report provides statistics for crimes ranging from murder to car thefts.
Data show crime has increased in recent years in the state.
Stenehjem has said crime has increased in the oil patch but so has the population. Officials say illegal drugs and organized crime are a big concern in western North Dakota's oil-producing region.
Anglers from Bismarck area and Garrison win walleye tourneys
Anglers from the Bismarck-Mandan area and from Garrison have won top honors in two of the region's most prominent walleye tournaments.
Wyatt Rime and Allen Iglehart, both of Garrison, won the $10,000 top prize at the North Dakota Governor's Walleye Cup, with 35.22 pounds of fish.
Abraham Starck, of Mandan, and Dwight Boespflug, of Lincoln, won the $12,000 top prize in the Dakota Walleye Classic, with 28.9 pounds of fish.
Both tournaments were held on Lake Sakakawea this month.
City of Dickinson responds to suit connected to school fire
DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Attorneys for the city of Dickinson are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the former Dickinson Trinity High School principal who was blamed for setting fire to the school until a judge threw out the charges.
The attorneys in court filings deny "each and every allegation" brought against the city and law enforcement by Thomas Sander.
Sander has sued the city, three police detectives and unnamed law enforcement officials. He says he was coerced into making a confession after he was denied food, water and sleep. He says he was not allowed to use the bathroom during his interrogation.
Sander also claims police worked for five months to prosecute and convict him even though evidence showed that someone else started the fire.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Sander's attorney, Ryan Shaffer in Montana, declined to comment on the city's response.
ND state flour mill sets $16.6M profit record
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's state Mill and Elevator has set a profit record.
The mill on Tuesday reported making $16.6 million during its last budget year, which ended in June.
That's a 25 percent increase from the previous year's profit of $13.3 million.
The mill had gross sales of $305 million.
Manager Vance Taylor says the mill had a good crop to work with and shipping volume increased during the last fiscal year.
The mill sells most of its flour in bulk to bakery customers. It also sells small, family-sized bags of flour through grocery stores.
1 more case of rare infectious disease confirmed in ND
(Information in the following story is from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com )
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota health officials have confirmed one more case of tularemia, a rare infectious disease that humans can catch from animals and insects.
Laura Cronquist with the Health Department says the case was confirmed in Stark County.
Tularemia symptoms in humans vary depending on how the infection was acquired. They include fever, chills and muscle ache; an ulcer may appears were the bacteria entered the skin.
Two cases of tularemia, sometimes called rabbit fever, were confirmed in LaMoure and Burleigh counties earlier this month. A squirrel at Minot's Roosevelt Zoo and two primates at the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck were also found to be infected.
The zoos are taking precautions, but officials say visiting the facilities doesn't pose an increased risk to the public.
TRIBAL OIL REGULATIONS
Tribal panel aims to regulate oil on part of ND reservation
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Tribal leaders from a prolific portion of North Dakota's oil-rich Fort Berthold Reservation have agreed to scale-back proposed regulations that industry officials warned could slow crude production.
The newly formed West Segment Regulatory Commission based in Mandaree had wanted to impose its own regulations on oil drilling activity. The west segment is one of six on the reservation and it's the busiest region for drilling.
The full council of the Three Affiliated Tribes did not endorse the idea of individual segments imposing their own rules.
John Mahoney, an attorney for the panel, says the commission has agreed to suspend implementation of most of the proposed rules.
He says companies working in the region will still be required to register with the commission.
Bismarck man dies in weekend ATV crash in Sheridan County
MARTIN, N.D. (AP) — A Bismarck man died over the weekend in an all-terrain vehicle crash in Sheridan County.
The Highway Patrol says 32-year-old Cole Weckerly was a passenger on an ATV that overturned on a gravel road between Martin and Selz about 5:30 p.m. Saturday. He died at the scene.
Authorities say charges are pending against the 36-year-old Goodrich man who was driving the ATV. The patrol says the driver told officers he purposely made the ATV fish-tail, and lost control. The driver suffered undisclosed injuries.
Colombian national linked to ND synthetic drug overdoses
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Federal authorities say an international synthetic drug ring that has been blamed for numerous overdoses in the Grand Forks area involves a Colombian man who moved the deadly substances while serving time in a Canadian prison.
Thirty-four-year-old Daniel Vivas Ceron has been charged with five counts, including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in death. He was arrested in Panama City and is awaiting extradition to the United States.
The arrest is part of an investigation into the international trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs that began with the overdose death in January of 18-year-old Bailey Henke, 18, of Grand Forks.
Court documents do not list an attorney for Ceron.
Five Grand Forks residents, all between the ages of 18 and 20, have pleaded guilty in the case.
Police identify woman killed in rollover crash near Roundup
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com )
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Musselshell County sheriff's officials have identified the 31-year-old North Dakota woman who was killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash east of Roundup.
Melissa Victoria Lane, of Bismarck, North Dakota, died Wednesday after she swerved to miss a deer on U.S. Highway 12. The Chevrolet Trailblazer she was driving went off the side of the road and rolled through a barbed wire fence.
Those injured in the wreck include five children ages 5 months to 12 years, as well as a 32-year-old man. Officials say Lane and two passengers were ejected from the vehicle. The current status of the passengers is unknown at this time.
ND gas flaring goals jeopardized by low oil prices
North Dakota's top energy regulator says the low oil prices may jeopardize targets that require reducing the amount of natural gas that is burned off as a byproduct of the state's oil production.
State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told some lawmakers Monday that the oil industry is exceeding rules that require reducing the amount of natural gas that is burned off as a byproduct of the state's oil production.
But he says low oil prices have put some natural gas projects on hold in North Dakota and that may make reaching new capturing goals difficult.
The rules put in place a year ago require oil companies to capture 90 percent of natural gas by 2020.
Helms says the industry is capturing 82 percent of the natural gas at present.
HELPING WITH HOPE
Regional disaster response effort has roots in Minot flood
A faith-based effort to provide housing for recovery volunteers in Minot after the 2011 Souris River flood is transforming into a regional disaster response organization.
Hope Village operated in Minot from April 2012 to November 2013, housing nearly 5,300 volunteers from 48 states and five Canadian provinces.
Hope Village Disaster Services is now partnering with other groups to coordinate disaster responses in other communities. Its first project was in the tornado-ravaged South Dakota town of Delmont.
The Minot Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/1S821HQ) that Hope Village Disaster Services is operated through Our Savior Lutheran Church in Minot in partnership with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It recently received a $6,000 donation from Bayer CropScience to advance its regional efforts.
NEW JUDGES APPOINTED
Dalrymple appoints 3 lawyers to newly created ND judgeships
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Jack Dalrymple has appointed three lawyers to newly created North Dakota district court judgeships.
Dalrymple on Monday announced the appointments of Kirsten Sjue, Daniel El-Dweek and Rhonda Ehlis.
Sjue and El-Dweek will be judges in the Northwest Judicial District. Sjue will serve in Williston, while El-Dweek will be chambered in Watford City.
Sjue is the current Williams County assistant state's attorney, and El-Dweek is a supervising attorney in the Williston Public Defender's Office.
Dalrymple appointed Ehlis to the Southwest Judicial District, which is chambered in Dickinson. Ehlis currently serves as Stark County assistant state's attorney.
The North Dakota Legislature this year approved the establishment of four new judgeships to help the state's district courts manage their caseloads.
The lawyers graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
Weekend pickup rollover kills 23-year-old Williston man
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A weekend rollover in northwest North Dakota killed a 23-year-old Williston man.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol says a tire on Keith Bellamy's pickup truck blew out on a county road 15 miles west of Williston about 2 p.m. Saturday. The vehicle went into the ditch and overturned.
The Highway Patrol says Bellamy was wearing a seatbelt and road conditions were good at the time of the incident.
COMMON CORE-NORTH DAKOTA
ND judge takes Common Core case under advisement
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A judge in Bismarck says he needs more time to review a lawsuit filed by opponents of the Common Core education standards.
Tioga Republican Rep. Bob Skarphol and three other plaintiffs want to bar the state from paying membership fees to an organization that's writing tests for the federally backed standards.
Opponents last month sued Gov. Jack Dalrymple, state Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and other state officials alleging North Dakota entered into an illegal agreement when it joined the multistate Smarter Balanced Assessment consortium.
Attorneys for the state want the lawsuit thrown out.
South Central District Judge David Reich says he will make a decision "as soon as I can."
The North Dakota lawsuit is similar to one that succeeded in Missouri in February but is on appeal.
TAYLOR SWIFT RESCHEDULES
Taylor Swift postpones Fargo concert until October
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Taylor Swift fans in North Dakota will have to wait a little longer to see her play live as the Grammy Award-winning singer's show in Fargo has been postponed until October.
Organizers on Monday announced that Swift's concert at the Fargodome has been moved from Sept. 9 to Oct. 12.
The change comes as Swift's planned concert at the home of the Houston Astros had to be moved up to Sept. 9 in case of a playoff run.
Tickets purchased for the September show in Fargo will be honored on Oct. 12, but those who are unable to attend because of the change can receive a refund.
CASS COUNTY SHOOTING
Sheriff's office identifies man shot in rural Cass County
WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Authorities have identified a 28-year-old man who was shot in rural Cass County.
The sheriff's office says Akeem Johnson received medical treatment for injuries that were not life-threatening after the shooting in the West Fargo area Friday night.
The sheriff's office is still investigating the incident and has not released additional information.
Man dies in weekend trench collapse in Benson County
(Information in the following story is from: KZZY-FM, http://lrradioworks.com )
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — A 60-year-old man died over the weekend in a trench collapse in Benson County.
Sheriff Steve Rohrer says William Collins Jr. was installing a water line to a rural home northwest of Churchs Ferry late Sunday afternoon when the trench that had been dug for the line caved in.
Three other people were at the site and rescue crews were called in, but Rohrer says Collins died of his injuries at the scene.
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