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Sunday, September 24th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:30 a.m. CDT
NATIONAL GUARD FACILITY

National Guard base has new intelligence gathering building

(Information from: KFGO-AM, http://www.kfgo.com)

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Air National Guard's intelligence gathering group has a new building at the Fargo base.?

KFGO radio reports that the $7.3 million, 19,000-square-feet facility will house 200 personnel who collect and analyze information involving enemy targets and communication networks.?

Wing Commander Col. Thomas Hatley says the desire for so-called target analysis has been a priority since the 9-11 attacks. He says the mission "touches points all over the world."

The base's intelligence squadrons had been working out of three separate buildings spread out across the base, including a former engine shop for F-16 fighter jets once flown by the 119th Wing.

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MOVE-UP MARKET

Bismarck-Mandan homeowners look to upgrade

(Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Realtors from Bismarck and Mandan say the local market is heavy with homeowners looking to upgrade.

Bismarck-Mandan Board of Realtors President Tricia Schlosser calls the Bismarck-Mandan "a great 'move-up' market," adding that continued low interest rates are helping. She tells The Bismarck Tribune that area currently has 2.5 to 3.5 months of inventory for homes in the $200,000 or less price range.

With a higher demand for homes, buyers have been able to negotiate more and move into the $350,000 to $400,000 price range, which has five months of inventory. Sellers are still able to collect about more than 95 percent of the original asking price of those homes.

The number of active listings is nearly 900, up by about 100 from last year, and up 500 from 2011.

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DROUGHT-DUCK HUNTING

Drought impacts duck hunting wetlands in the Northern Plains

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — When duck hunters in the Northern Plains take to the field this fall, they'll find fewer wetlands at which to set up their blinds and float their decoys due to a summer of devastating drought.

A North Dakota Game and Fish Department survey finds the number of duck-hunting wetlands statewide at the lowest level in nine years.

In South Dakota, Harold Bickner with Ducks Unlimited says wetlands have dried up in many areas, and ducks have moved out.

The prevalence of wetlands isn't the only determining factor in how many ducks will be available to hunters. Weather conditions and migration patterns also are big influences.

Saturday is opening day for duck hunting in North Dakota. South Dakota's season opens next Saturday in some areas and Oct. 14 in others.

ARREST LAWSUIT

Deaf Bismarck woman wins settlement from ND cops and courts

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota courts, Stutsman County and the Jamestown Police Department have agreed to make policy changes after failing to provide an interpreter for a deaf Bismarck woman following her arrest.

Christine Stein sued the court system, the county and the city of Jamestown last year. She said she was wrongfully arrested after calling 911 to report a man who was threating to kill himself. She was held in solitary confinement but the charges were later dropped.

The $90,000 settlement finalized Friday requires Stutsman County and Jamestown to improve their procedure for interacting with deaf and hard-of-hearing people, including annual training for law enforcement officers and on-call sign language interpreters.

Stein's attorney, Heather Gilbert, says the county and city will jointly pay $75,000 while the state court system will pay $15,000.

RECALL EFFORTS

North Dakota sees increase in recall petitions

(Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Efforts to oust officials in North Dakota communities have risen for the third year in a row.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that nine recall committees across the state have targeted 11 officials, compared to seven recall efforts in 2016.

Among this year's recalls is Julie Johnson, who was serving her second term as a member of the Kindred City Council when she ousted on Tuesday after a three-way election. Petitioners accused Johnson of aggressive and divisive behavior.

Johnson says she feels relieved, "because things are out in the open now." Jason DuBord will take her place in October.

Some recall efforts in the state that have failed, including efforts in LaMoure County and in Bismarck where enough signatures were collected, but were invalidated after official scrutiny.

___

MINOT PROJECT

$30 million, 3-year downtown project in Minot wraps up

(Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com)

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A three-year infrastructure reconstruction project has wrapped up in downtown Minot.

The Minot Daily News reports that the $30 million project replaced miles of water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer pipes, streets, curb and gutters, sidewalks and street lighting.

City Engineer Lance Meyer called it "a massive undertaking" and the largest reconstruction project the city has ever done.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for early October.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, September 23rd 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. CDT
DROUGHT-DUCK HUNTING

Drought impacts duck hunting wetlands in the Northern Plains

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — When duck hunters in the Northern Plains take to the field this fall, they'll find fewer wetlands at which to set up their blinds and float their decoys due to a summer of devastating drought.

A North Dakota Game and Fish Department survey finds the number of duck-hunting wetlands statewide at the lowest level in nine years.

In South Dakota, Harold Bickner with Ducks Unlimited says wetlands have dried up in many areas, and ducks have moved out.

The prevalence of wetlands isn't the only determining factor in how many ducks will be available to hunters. Weather conditions and migration patterns also are big influences.

Saturday is opening day for duck hunting in North Dakota. South Dakota's season opens next Saturday in some areas and Oct. 14 in others.

ARREST LAWSUIT

Deaf Bismarck woman wins settlement from ND cops and courts

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota courts, Stutsman County and the Jamestown Police Department have agreed to make policy changes after failing to provide an interpreter for a deaf Bismarck woman following her arrest.

Christine Stein sued the court system, the county and the city of Jamestown last year. She said she was wrongfully arrested after calling 911 to report a man who was threating to kill himself. She was held in solitary confinement but the charges were later dropped.

The $90,000 settlement finalized Friday requires Stutsman County and Jamestown to improve their procedure for interacting with deaf and hard-of-hearing people, including annual training for law enforcement officers and on-call sign language interpreters.

Stein's attorney, Heather Gilbert, says the county and city will jointly pay $75,000 while the state court system will pay $15,000.

RECALL EFFORTS

North Dakota sees increase in recall petitions

(Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Efforts to oust officials in North Dakota communities have risen for the third year in a row.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that nine recall committees across the state have targeted 11 officials, compared to seven recall efforts in 2016.

Among this year's recalls is Julie Johnson, who was serving her second term as a member of the Kindred City Council when she ousted on Tuesday after a three-way election. Petitioners accused Johnson of aggressive and divisive behavior.

Johnson says she feels relieved, "because things are out in the open now." Jason DuBord will take her place in October.

Some recall efforts in the state that have failed, including efforts in LaMoure County and in Bismarck where enough signatures were collected, but were invalidated after official scrutiny.

___

MINOT PROJECT

$30 million, 3-year downtown project in Minot wraps up

(Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com)

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A three-year infrastructure reconstruction project has wrapped up in downtown Minot.

The Minot Daily News reports that the $30 million project replaced miles of water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer pipes, streets, curb and gutters, sidewalks and street lighting.

City Engineer Lance Meyer called it "a massive undertaking" and the largest reconstruction project the city has ever done.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for early October.

___

PRIEST-EMBEZZLEMENT

5 years in prison for priest who stole thousands in Owosso

OWOSSO, Mich. (AP) — A retired priest has been sentenced to at least five years in prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a Michigan church.

The Rev. David Fisher was pastor for 23 years at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Owosso, 90 miles northwest of Detroit. He was sentenced Friday and ordered to repay $127,000.

Fisher retired in 2015 and moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota. He'll be eligible for parole after five years in prison. His maximum sentence is 15 years in prison.

Other Michigan priests have been under scrutiny. The Rev. Richard Fritz was accused of stealing more than $100,000, but charges were dropped in St. Joseph County in July.

In the Lansing-area, the Rev. Jonathan Wehrle is charged with embezzling $100,000 or more from an Okemos church.

BUSINESS-ZONING LAWSUIT

Minot business challenges city's zoning order

(Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com)

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A Minot business extensively damaged by fire earlier this year has filed a lawsuit against the city over zoning issues.

A "cease and desist" order was issued by the city this summer against Earth Recycling. The city said the business was not in compliance with zoning regulations.

The Minot Daily News reports Earth Recycling says the business was grandfathered and doesn't need to comply with zoning regulations enacted in 2013. Earth Recycling opened in Minot in 2008.

Its attorney, Lynn Boughey, has asked the court to stop the city from enforcing its "cease and desist" order. A fire last May at Earth Recycling resulted in extensive damage, including the total loss of a building.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Friday, September 22nd 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. CDT
CHAMBER PRESIDENT-RESIGNATION

North Dakota Chamber of Commerce's Peterson resigns

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The president and chief executive of North Dakota's largest business organization has resigned.

The North Dakota Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that Andy Peterson's resignation was effective immediately.

Peterson headed the group for seven years. He would not comment on the reason for his resignation but says he "wishes" the organization "all the best."

Chamber spokesman Jason Matthews says he did not know the reason for Peterson's resignation.

The group has more than 1,000 members and offers programs and services to help businesses in the state.

Prior to heading the North Dakota group, Peterson was a longtime policy and education director for the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota.

Matthews says a search for Peterson's replacement has not begun.

UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT-RETIREMENT

Longtime University of Jamestown president to retire in 2018

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) — Longtime University of Jamestown President Robert S. Badal says he will retire next year.

Badal announced Thursday that he will retire effective Feb. 28, 2018. He has been president since 2002.

In a statement, Badal says he has had "the rare chance to take a small but historic institution to a higher level."

During Badal's tenure, the university has seen growth in enrollment, endowment, academic programs and extracurricular offerings. Jamestown College became the University of Jamestown during his presidency, and a new campus in Fargo is home to three graduate programs.

The university's endowment has more than doubled since Badal became president, and more than 1,100 students are enrolled.

The Board of Trustees will consider plans for selecting a new president at its Sept. 29 meeting.

DROUGHT-DAKOTAS

Drought in western North Dakota eases significantly

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Drought in western North Dakota has eased significantly over the past week.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows a reduction in extreme and exceptional drought from 19 percent to less than 4 percent, due to heavy rains. The northwestern corner of the state is the only area that remains in those categories of drought, which are the two worst.

Overall, 87 percent of North Dakota is in some stage of drought, down from 93 percent last week.

Seventy-two-percent of South Dakota is in some stage of drought, unchanged over the week. Areas in severe or extreme drought declined slightly, from 44 percent to 40 percent.

The federal Agriculture Department reports that South Dakota leads major-producing states in very poor to poor ratings for sorghum, corn and soybean crops.

DEVILS LAKE SHELTER

Devils Lake domestic violence shelter faces budget woes

(Information from: Devils Lake Journal, http://www.devilslakejournal.com)

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — A new domestic violence shelter in Devils Lake is trying to raise money to keep its doors open.

The Safe Alternatives for Abused Families shelter opened in April, and Director Molly McDonald says that there have been only two days in which no one has used it.

The shelter serves a seven-county area, including the Spirit Lake Reservation. McDonald says the need has far exceeded projections, and it costs more than $500 per day to run the shelter.

Each county and the reservation contributed $5,000 to get the shelter operating. The Devils Lake Journal reports that the Ramsey County Commission on Tuesday agreed to provide an additional $5,000 to keep it running.

Fundraisers also are planned Friday and Oct. 19 to help address the budget shortfall.

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CONGRESS-HEALTH OVERHAUL-NORTH DAKOTA

Report: North Dakota can lose $1B under proposed health law

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A report estimates that North Dakota could lose $1 billion in federal funding for health insurance over seven years under a Republican bill in Congress to replace the Obama health care overhaul.

The bill would shift health care money and power from Washington to states. President Donald Trump and Republican Senate leaders are trying to rally 50 Republican votes to pass the bill.

The analysis by Washington, D.C.-based Avalere Health compares projected spending under the current health care law and the Republican-backed legislation.

It found that the proposed legislation would reduce funding to more than 30 states, including North Dakota, by a total of nearly $294 billion from 2020 to 2026. The analysis also found 16 states would gain nearly $80 billion, leaving a $215 billion net loss of funding.

SUPREME COURT-JUSTICE

Newest North Dakota Supreme Court justice formally installed

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's newest state Supreme Court justice is officially on the job.

An investiture ceremony was held Wednesday to install Justice Jon Jensen, who has been hearing cases since Aug. 15.

Gov. Doug Burgum in July appointed Jensen to replace Justice Carol Kapsner. Kapsner announced her resignation in April after nearly 18 years on the state's highest court.

Jensen had been the presiding judge of the Northeast Central District. He's a graduate of the University of North Dakota law school and previously was in private practice in Grand Forks.

Jensen will serve at least two years before the general election in November 2020, when he must run for a new 10-year term.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.