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Monday, May 2nd 2016
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT
NORTH DAKOTA-PLAYERS SIGN

2 more UND hockey underclassmen leaving for the NHL

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Two more underclassmen on the national champion University of North Dakota men's hockey team are leaving for the professional ranks.

The school says junior center Luke Johnson has signed a contract with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, and junior defenseman Paul LaDue has signed with the Los Angeles Kings.

Chicago drafted Johnson in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL draft. Los Angeles drafted LaDue in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.

Both players will forgo their final year of college eligibility. They join two other UND juniors who are leaving early. Defenseman Troy Stecher signed earlier with the Vancouver Canucks, and defenseman Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks.

GARSKE FATAL

Weekend SUV crash in Ramsey County kills Devils Lake man

GARSKE, N.D. (AP) — A one-vehicle crash in Ramsey County over the weekend killed a Devils Lake man.

The Highway Patrol says the 29-year-old man lost control of his vehicle on state Highway 20 and it rolled several times in the ditch.

The man died at the scene near Garske. His name was not immediately released. He was alone in the SUV.

The wreckage was discovered about 8:45 a.m. Sunday. The time of the crash wasn't immediately determined.

MUNICIPALITIES-PROJECT BIDDING

Municipalities get more project bids, competitive prices

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Municipalities in the Bismarck area are getting more bids that are at prices that are more competitive for their construction projects this year.

Linda Oster, a design and construction engineer for Bismarck, says that they "are seeing twice as many bidders across the board." Jim Neubauer, Mandan's city administrator, says they're seeing more bidders and that it's common for bids to be 15 percent to 22 percent lower than engineering estimates this construction season.

The Bismarck Tribune reports low oil prices are driving product costs in asphalt surfacing and the cost of fuel for building equipment.

Burleigh County engineer Marcus Hall said there's a decrease in costs being seen for Department of Transportation bid lettings, falling by 5 percent to 10 percent.

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FLOODED BASEMENT

Watford City man wants city to help after basement flooded

(Information from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com)

WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — A Watford City man wants monetary help from the city after his basement flooded following a water main burst.

The Williston Herald reports the pipe break led to water going into Bill Thinnes' basement in March. The break also formed a sinkhole in the front yard and collapsed two sidewalks.

Thinnes estimates there could be around $48,000 in expenses between repairs for the basement and yard. He has paid about $8,000 so far to pump out water and fill the sinkhole, among other work. The city's insurance has paid for some work, including taking out soaked drywall and the use of blowers to dry up moisture.

Watford City public works superintendent Justin Smith says the city is willing to lend a hand, but it's not a quick process.

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PRONGHORN HUNTING

North Dakota pronghorn hunting success at 81 percent in 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Most hunters who went in search of pronghorn in North Dakota last year found success.

The state Game and Fish Department says success during the fall pronghorn hunt was 81 percent.

Pronghorn have been slowly rebounding after being decimated by three straight severe winters starting in 2008. Last year's season was only the second in North Dakota since 2009.

The state issued 409 licenses in three hunting units last fall, up from about 250 licenses in only one unit in 2014. About 6,500 people applied for a license last year — about 16 people for every one license available.

Game and Fish says 385 hunters took 312 pronghorn, consisting of 286 bucks, 15 does and 11 fawns.

The 2016 pronghorn hunting season will be determined in early July.

ONLINE LEASE AUCTION

Auction for North Dakota drilling rights to be held online

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A quarterly state auction for oil drilling rights on North Dakota state land will be held online.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that the auction will be held on Tuesday at www.energynet.com .

State Land Commissioner Lance Gaebe says the department has dabbled in online auctions in-between the quarterly auctions. He says the online auction Tuesday is being done as a test and future auctions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Auctions historically have been held at the state Capitol in Bismarck or in Medora.

Tuesday's auction will have 6,358 acres in Bottineau, Burke, Divide, Emmons, McKenzie, Mountrail and Williams counties.

The state shares royalty income from producing oil wells. Most of the income is paid to a pair of state trust funds that benefit schools and special projects.

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Sunday, May 1st 2016
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT
BOREHOLE BURIAL-NUCLEAR WASTE

Borehole experiment organizers face skeptics in Spink County

(Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com)

REDFIELD, S.D. (AP) — Organizers of a federal effort to assess whether nuclear waste can be stored deep underground have met opposition in Spink County from residents who are concerned about the potential drilling project.

The Aberdeen American News reports that organizers attempted to assure residents at recent meetings in Redfield and Tulare that there would be no plan to store nuclear waste in the county.

Battelle, the nonprofit managing the project, has said that it is looking at sites in Spink County. The U.S. Energy Department project is meant to help determine whether deep rock is suitable for nuclear waste disposal, but would not involve any actual waste.

Kristie Binger owns and farms land near Tulare. She cited concerns about what would happen if testing finds the county is suitable as a disposal site.

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MINOT-LED LIGHTS

City of Minot, Xcel Energy moving toward LED street lights

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

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The city of Minot and Xcel Energy are both moving toward using energy efficient LED street lights.

The Minot Daily News reports that the city is installing the lights in connection to new construction.

Meanwhile, Xcel is pursuing an effort to upgrade its high-pressure sodium street lights to new LED lights. The change is expected to encompass nearly 3,500 street lights in North Dakota, including roughly 1,200 in Minot.

City Engineer Lance Meyer says there have been some complaints about the LED lights being too bright, often around residences.

Kathy Aas is Xcel Energy's community relations manager in Minot. She says the lights can be an adjustment, but she says customers have said they want more energy efficiency.

Aas says the lights have both economic and environmental benefits.

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WAHPETON SESQUICENTENNIAL

Wahpeton looking for ideas for celebrating 150th birthday

(Information from: Wahpeton Daily News, http://www.wahpetondailynews.com)

WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) — The city of Wahpeton wants to hear ideas from local residents about how to celebrate the city's 150th birthday, which is set to be celebrated in 2019.

The Daily News reports that Economic Development Assistant Cheryl O'Meara is eager hear from Wahpeton citizens about the city's sesquicentennial.

She says good ideas are going to "really help this come to life." Wahpeton Mayor Meryl Hansey says there's been discussion about getting a manager for the celebration.

Hansey also says he believes having funding is important to making sure the celebration is successful. This early, cost or budget estimates haven't been seriously explored.

Hansey says he'd like to see "one big blow out."

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PADDLEFISH SEASON

North Dakota paddlefish snagging season starts Sunday

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's annual paddlefish snagging season gets underway Sunday.

The season runs through the month of May, though state wildlife officials can close it early if it appears too many fish will be caught.

Snagging is legal in all areas of the Yellowstone River in northwestern North Dakota, and in most of the Missouri River west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border. A paddlefish tag and a valid fishing license are required. Snagging hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Game and Fish Department says paddlefish snagged on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays must be released. Paddlefish snagged on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays must be harvested.

MINOT LEVEE WORK

Minot wants to hire an engineering firm for levee work

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Minot officials want to hire an engineering firm to help bring the city's flood levees up to federal standards.

The Minot Daily News reports that the city's Public Works and Safety Committee is recommending the city council enter into an agreement with Houston Engineering for $352,500.

Public Works Director Dan Jonasson says Minot's levees are deficient in places under more recent standards created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Jonasson says the improvements include tree removal and erosion repairs.

BIG GAME LOTTERIES

North Dakota completes moose and elk hunting lotteries

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The results are in for North Dakota's moose and elk hunting lotteries.

Applicants can access the outcome online at the State Game and Fish Department's website, at www.gf.nd.gov . Applicants can find individual results by clicking "find lottery results/preference points" under the buy and apply link.

Successful applicants will receive a letter the week of May 2, stating the license will be mailed after the license fee has been paid.

The bighorn sheep lottery is scheduled in September, after summer population surveys are completed and total licenses are determined.

Saturday, April 30th 2016
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT
DRONE ON LOAN

Grand Forks drone unit cleared to fly nationwide missions

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A county law enforcement unit in North Dakota that's been at the leading edge of unmanned aircraft development is cleared to fly drones throughout the country.

The authorization was announced earlier this month by the Federal Aviation Administration. It makes the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft System unit in Grand Forks one of only a handful of law enforcement agencies with the capability of responding to incidents like natural disasters, crime scenes or search-and-rescue missions.

Alan Frazier is the chief pilot and architect of the unmanned aircraft program for the Grand Forks unit. He says the group is able and willing to help an agency that might need a drone on loan.

The Grand Forks crew previously had the OK to fly within 18 counties, all but one in North Dakota.

HOSTFEST-SEDAKA

Neil Sedaka to replace Brenda Lee at Norsk Høstfest in Minot

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Legendary pop singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka will be performing at this year's Norsk Hostfest in Minot.

The Minot Daily News reports that Sedaka will replace the previously announced Brenda Lee show. Lee can't perform because of undisclosed circumstances.

The 77-year-old Sedaka will perform a main stage concert on Thursday, Sept. 29.

Tickets for the 39th annual Hostfest go on sale at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 17. Other main stage performers include country superstars Big and Rich, Sara Evans and Dwight Yoakam, and the rock band Chicago.

The Hostfest is billed as the largest Scandinavian heritage festival in North America. Each year it draws about 60,000 people from around the world for food, music and other entertainment. This year's Hostfest is Sept. 28 to Oct. 1.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING GRANT

Land Board awards grant for human trafficking treatment

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Land Board has awarded $94,500 for human trafficking treatment and support services.

Officials say the grants are part of a program aimed at helping communities deal with the effects of energy development.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the money will go to the Council on Abused Women's Services.

The Land Board is headed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

MINOT ETHICS CODE

Minot council asked to approve code of ethics for employees

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

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The Minot city council is being asked to approve a code of ethics for city employees.

The Minot Daily News reports that the code includes about a dozen guidelines. It is meant to ensure that citizens have confidence in the integrity of city government.

The council's Finance and Improvements Committee voted 4-1 to send the motion to the full council.

Council member Tom Seymour, who voted against adoption, says he's worried how the city will measure compliance and says there are "gray areas" in the code.

The item is on the agenda for Monday's council meeting.

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PHARMACY TECH DEGREE

ND colleges team up to offer pharmacy tech degree

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota State College of Science and Bismarck State College are teaming up to offer a pharmacy technician degree in the central and western parts of the state.

The degree offering is inspired by a documented shortage of pharmacy technicians. It will be offered beginning in the fall of 2016.

Students will enroll through the College of Science but may attend classes in Bismarck. General education classes will be provided by Bismarck State, while the technical components of the program will be taught by Wahpeton-based NDSCS Pharmacy Technician faculty through interactive video and online classes.

Students will be able to earn either a two-year AAS degree or a one-year certificate from the College of Science.

EASTER BUNNY-SEX OFFENDER

Mental health evaluation ordered for arrested Easter bunny

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

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A judge has ordered a mental health evaluation for a convicted sex offender who was arrested after getting a job as an Easter bunny at a Minot mall.

Twenty-four-year-old Minot resident Daniel Sanderson was barred from working with children as a condition of probation he received after pleading guilty last year to exposing himself to a girl at a hotel.

The Minot Daily News reports that Sanderson now faces felony charges of failing to register as sex offender. Defense attorney Raissa Carpenter requested Sanderson be sent to the State Hospital in Jamestown for an evaluation, and Judge Todd Cresap has agreed. Sanderson will undergo the evaluation in June.