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Tuesday, March 31st 2015
Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment
SURGE FUNDING-BIDS

Bids for $1.1B 'surge funding' projects lower than expected

Officials say bids are coming in lower than expected for the $1.1 billion in fast-track funding designated for highways and communities affected by North Dakota's exploding growth.

Williston Mayor Howard Klug says bids for the projects are coming in at about 20 percent below original estimates. He says that means there will be more money for additional projects.

The fast-track legislation includes $450 million in funding for state highway projects. It includes $240 million for the 10 biggest oil-producing counties, $112 million for non-oil-producing counties, $100 million for cities in oil-producing counties, and $198 million for other cities outside the oil patch.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the bill last month at a ceremony at the state Capitol.

REFINERY-DIESEL DEMAND

Dickinson refinery not expected to stabilize diesel prices

A new oil refinery near Dickinson is expected to begin operations within three months, but officials don't expect it to stabilize the price of diesel fuel during harvest.

The Dakota Prairie Refinery is expected to produce nearly 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel each day. It will be sold locally, but MDU Resources Group spokesman Rick Matteson tells The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1HWFtnA) that the amount is "a drop in the bucket" compared to the demand.

North Dakota State University Assistant Professor David Ripplinger also says the refinery will have little to no impact on what farmers pay for diesel, though he says it might help ease supply disruptions.

Bismarck-based MDU Resources Group and Indianapolis-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners built the refinery at a cost of more than $400 million.

CROP REPORT

Report: North Dakota winter wheat crop continues to slide

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The condition of North Dakota's winter wheat crop continues to decline.

The Agriculture Department says in its latest crop report that 53 percent of the winter wheat is rated in either good or excellent condition. A report earlier this month showed a combined 64 percent rating.

The report says the lack of snow cover had livestock producers worried about the grazing and haying potential, but those same conditions allowed for productive lambing and calving with minimal losses.

Cattle and calf conditions were rated 89 percent excellent or good. Calving was 26 percent complete.

Sheep and lamb conditions were 82 percent excellent or good. Lambing was 43 percent finished.

ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGE

Man charged with attempted murder after chase in oil patch

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — An Idaho man is charged with attempted murder after police say he tried run over an officer during a vehicle chase.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ryan Grunig, of Montpelier, Idaho, is facing several charges for the incident, which began early Sunday morning when police tried to pull him over for a traffic violation.

Authorities say at one point Grunig's pickup truck appeared to be stuck in a drainage ditch, at which time an officer drew his weapon and ordered Grunig out the vehicle. Grunig was able to accelerate out of the ditch and then drove toward the officer, who jumped out of the way.

The Williston Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1BYdNq5) that Grunig also faces charges for fleeing, speeding and failing to wear a seat belt.

Court documents do not list an attorney for Grunig.

INFANT ASSAULT

Bismarck man sentenced to 3 years for assaulting 5-month-old

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Bismarck man accused of hitting a 5-month-old child and fracturing the infant's skull has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Authorities say Franklin Crone Jr. punched the infant in the back of the head as he was assaulting the child's mother. The child was flown to Minneapolis for brain surgery.

Crone told the court he was "horrified" by his actions, but striking the infant was an accident.

Crone pleaded guilty earlier to felony child abuse and misdemeanor assault.

Judge David Reich on Monday ordered Crone to pay more than $1,900 in restitution, seek mental health treatment and register as an offender against children.

The judge told Crone he is prohibited from contacting the woman he assaulted and all children in that family.

ILLEGAL FARM WORKERS

North Dakota man pleads guilty in illegal immigration case

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — One of two people accused of recruiting workers living in the country illegally to help at a vegetable processing plant in North Dakota has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Prosecutors say 57-year-old Richard Shearer was employed as a consultant for KIDCO Farms in Dawson when he helped the company find about two-dozen workers. The employees were allegedly recruited in Arizona and then taken to North Dakota.

Shearer has signed a plea agreement that calls for him to pay back $20,000 in illegal proceeds. The deal calls for the government to recommend a sentence at the low end of guidelines.

Shearer's attorney was not immediately available for comment.

Plant executive Monte Benz has also been charged in the case. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 9.

MURDER SUSPECT

North Dakota man to face murder charge in Minnesota

(Information in the following story is from: KZZY-FM, http://lrradioworks.com )

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota man accused of killing a man in Minnesota has agreed to be returned to that state to be prosecuted.

Twenty-five-year-old Ray Littlewolf Jr. told a judge last week that he wanted to meet with a lawyer before agreeing to waive extradition. KZZY radio reports that Littlewolf didn't fill out paperwork for a public defender, and he appeared in court in Devils Lake on Monday and waived extradition.

Littlewolf is accused in the death earlier this month of 64-year-old Ronald Foss near Viking, Minnesota.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, March 30th 2015
Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment
ROBBERY CHARGES

Man faces charges in 6 robberies on North Dakota oil patch

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A man accused in several robberies on the North Dakota oil patch has been charged in federal court.

Brian Lindsey is charged with six counts of interference of commerce by robbery. He is also facing federal robbery charges in Idaho and Washington.

Authorities say the North Dakota robberies took place in late October. Lindsey is accused of robbing the Minot Premier Video, Minot Cenex, Minot Pizza Hut, New Town Little Missouri Inn and Suites, New Town Larsen Drug Store and Williston Cash Wise Thrifty Drug Store.

Court documents do not list an attorney for Lindsey. He has yet to appear in North Dakota.

GOVERNOR MANSION

North Dakota's House revives governor mansion measure

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — With low oil prices and unprecedented demands for statewide spending, the Senate last month decided it's not the time to build a new home for the first family.

But the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee has revived the measure that would tear down the 55-year-old governor's residence and build a new one on the state Capitol grounds.

Members of the committee took a tour of the home on Friday.

The Senate's version of the bill would appropriate $5 million to tear down the old governor's residence and build a new one. The new House version would require that $1 million of the cost be raised from private sources.

BISMARCK-URBAN SPRAWL

Proposal would streamline Bismarck road, service extensions

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Bismarck is taking steps to make sure city services and roads can continue uninterrupted through parcels of land being developed by different owners.

The Bismarck Tribune reports a proposal would make developers define right-of-ways and easements so city services go unabated. The city's Planning and Zoning Commission is hosting a public hearing on the proposal April 29 and will make a recommendation before it goes to the Bismarck City Commission.

Other development related changes being addressed by Bismarck include rental properties on single-family lots and encouraging narrower streets in residential areas.

JOB FAIR

25 businesses to recruit students at Dickinson State

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Twenty-five businesses will be recruiting Dickinson State University students during the school's annual career and internship fair today.

Businesses that will attend the event scheduled for Monday span a variety of fields. Representatives from the public school system in Glendive, Montana, Fisher Industries and the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame are among the recruiters.

Marie Moe is the university's interim vice president for student affairs. She says internships allow students to work in a professional environment and tackle "real world problems."

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the university's student center.

SPECIALTY CROP GRANTS

North Dakota gets $2.3 million for specialty crop grants

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Agriculture Department is getting more than $2 million from the federal government to be given out as grants to help promote specialty crops.

State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has given North Dakota $2.3 million this year, down from the $3.1 million in 2014.

Goehring says projects that promote the production, processing and use of specialty crops in North Dakota are eligible for grant money. The federal government defines specialty crops as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops.

Specialty crops grown commercially in North Dakota include dry beans and peas, lentils, potatoes, confection sunflowers, grapes, honey and various vegetables.

Groups and individuals interested in obtaining a grant must apply by April 30.

HEART DISEASE-GRANT

NDSU gets $435K grant for heart, vascular disease research

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Researchers at North Dakota State University have received more than $400,000 in federal funds to study heart and vascular diseases.

U.S. Senator John Hoeven says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the $435,000 academic research grant.

Hoeven says the grant to NDSU "will help Americans live longer, better lives."

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 600,000 people died of heart disease in 2013.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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