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Friday, November 17th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CST

Keystone pipeline leak days before Nebraska expansion ruling

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Keystone pipeline has leaked 210,000 gallons of oil in rural South Dakota but officials don't believe it has polluted water.

The pipeline operator, TransCanada Corp., says it has shut down the system and the state has sent an inspector to the site near the border with North Dakota.

According to U.S. government data, there have been 17 oil leaks in the U.S. larger than the new spill since 2010.

But it comes just four days before Nebraska regulators are due to announce their final decision on whether a major expansion of the pipeline system, called Keystone XL, can pass through the state. The expansion has been fiercely opposed by environmental activists, American Indian tribes and some landowners.

President Donald Trump has approved a permit for the expansion.


Sanford pledges $5M for regional science education center

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Sanford Health has pledged $5 million to Northern State University for a regional science education center.

The gift includes a $500,000 scholarship endowment for students and a $200,000 faculty development endowment. The Aberdeen university says the gift should help advance education and research opportunities for the entire region.

Construction on the science center is to begin next spring. The $25 million cost is being funded by private donations.

Sanford Health is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Fargo, North Dakota. It bills itself as one of the largest health systems in the nation, with 45 hospitals and nearly 300 clinics in nine states and four countries.


Tribes make renewed push for pipeline protections

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two American Indian tribes in the Dakotas that are fighting the Dakota Access pipeline in court are making a renewed push to bolster protections for their water supply.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux have filed court documents urging a federal judge to reject the recent arguments of federal officials and the pipeline developer that the tribes' proposals aren't needed.

The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting an additional court-ordered review of the pipeline's impact on tribal interests. While that's done, the tribes want additional protections such as emergency equipment staging at the pipeline's Lake Oahe crossing on the Missouri River, which is their water source.

The Corps and pipeline developer argue that additional protections would be unwarranted and burdensome.

It's not known when the judge might rule.


Authorities capture woman sought in Minot shooting death

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Law officers have captured a woman sought in a suspected homicide in Minot.

Minot police Capt. John Klug said 38-year-old Kommika Gregory was taken into custody without incident near New Town about 4 p.m. Thursday.

Gregory was sought in the shooting death of a 58-year-old man whose body was found in a Minot home.

Officers who responded to the scene shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday found the man had been shot and killed. His name wasn't immediately released.

Police say Gregory and the man were acquaintances. Authorities say the shooting was an isolated incident and they do not believe there is any danger to the public.


Heitkamp supports ethics investigation into Franken

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says allegations of sexual harassment against Sen. Al Franken are concerning and that his apology "does not excuse the behavior."

The North Dakota Democrat says she supports an ethics investigation into her Minnesota colleague.

Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio news anchor, said Thursday that Franken forcibly kissed her during a skit rehearsal while both were on a 2006 USO tour. Tweeden also posted a picture in which Franken is shown grinning into a camera with his hands on a sleeping Tweeden's breasts.

Franken has apologized and says he'll cooperate with an ethics investigation.

Heitkamp says society has been "far too tolerant and dismissive" of sexual harassment allegations, and that cases that are now coming to light are "a sea change that is very important."


North Dakota oil producers exceed flaring limits

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators say oil companies in September exceeded rules aimed at limiting the amount of natural gas burned off as a byproduct of oil production.

The Bismarck Tribune reports oil companies are supposed to capture 85 percent of natural gas or limit flaring to no more than 15 percent.

State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms says companies flared 17 percent of production in September.

He says the flaring of 323 million cubic feet per day was caused by unanticipated maintenance problems with pipelines, natural gas processing plants and compressor stations.

Helms says the increased flaring likely won't lead to regulators requiring companies to restrict oil and natural gas production.


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

Thursday, November 16th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CST

$38 million Ward County Jail expansion to be dedicated

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Officials are preparing to dedicate Ward County's $38 million jail expansion.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set Monday, with public tours scheduled the following Monday, Nov. 27.

The expansion project increased jail capacity from 104 beds to 300 beds. Sheriff Bob Barnard has said the new facility won't be taking inmates until about mid-December, after staff training is complete.

There is a small bit of landscaping to be done next spring. Remodeling of the existing jail also should be completed by spring.


Woman injured in pipeline protest still being investigated

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A New York woman who suffered a serious arm injury while protesting the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota is preparing for her fifth surgery, even while she's still under investigation.

Sophia Wilansky was injured in an explosion during a violent clash between protesters and police last November. Protesters allege the blast was caused by a concussion grenade thrown by officers. Police maintain it was caused by a propane canister protesters rigged to explode.

Recently unsealed court documents indicate the government last spring sought evidence that might implicate Wilansky by searching her Facebook account. Eight months later, no charges have been filed against her. Federal authorities say the investigation is ongoing.

Wilansky's father says she has limited use of her left arm and hand. She's scheduled for another surgery Dec. 12.


North Dakota lawmakers to review sexual harassment policies

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota legislative leaders will review anti-sexual harassment policies for state lawmakers.

The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee will meet Dec. 6 at the Capitol to discuss the policies that have been in place for almost 30 years.

Republican House Majority Leader Al Carlson of Fargo heads the bipartisan committee of legislative leaders. He says the time is right to review — and perhaps update — the state's polices since many allegations of sexual harassment are coming to light in political and entertainment circles.

Carlson and other North Dakota legislative leaders say they are not aware of any sexual harassment allegations ever occurring in the Legislature.

Carslon says sexual harassment won't be tolerated.


Contractor wins case against North Dakota Historical Society

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A contractor who supervised the $52 million upgrade of North Dakota's Heritage Center has won a lawsuit against the State Historical Society.

Wahpeton-based Comstock Construction Inc. alleges in court documents that the state still owed it more than $1.5 million in damages and unpaid bills.

A jury sided with the company on Wednesday after a three-day trial. It is unclear if the state will appeal. Officials did not immediately return telephone calls for comment Wednesday.

Historical Society Director Claudia Berg has said the agency withheld payment to the company because it had not finished some work.

The revamped Heritage Center opened in 2014. State lawmakers approved about $40 million for the 97,000-square-foot expansion in 2009. The Historical Society raised an additional $12 million from private sources.


Rock singer Etheridge pleads guilty to possessing marijuana

(Information from: KFYR-TV, http://www.kfyrtv.com/)

BOWBELLS, N.D. (AP) — Grammy-winning rock singer Melissa Etheridge has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possessing marijuana in North Dakota.

KMOT-TV reports an attorney for the California musician entered the plea on her behalf Tuesday. Under a proposed order, Etheridge would pay a fine of $750 and serve unsupervised probation.

Etheridge was arrested in August when investigators found marijuana on her tour bus as it crossed from Canada into the U.S. Etheridge, who is a cancer survivor, has said she believes in the medicinal applications of cannabis.

Etheridge's attorney, Thomas Dickson, says the musician has a legal permit allowing her to use medical marijuana in California. If Etheridge meets conditions of the proposed order over the next six months, the charge will be dismissed.


This story has been corrected to delete an incorrect reference to Etheridge's attorney saying the musician intended to apply for a medical marijuana license in North Dakota.



North Dakota oil production up slightly in September

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's oil production rose slightly in September and remained above 1 million barrels per day for the eighth consecutive month.

The Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced an average of 1.1 million barrels of oil daily in September. That's up from 1.08 million barrels in August.

North Dakota also produced 1.94 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in September, which equaled August production.

There were a record 14,190 producing wells in September, up 101 from August.

The September tallies are the latest figures available.

There were 55 drill rigs operating in North Dakota on Wednesday, down one from the September average.

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