UND names chair for new health program at medical school
Gary Schwartz has been named the founding chair for the Department of Population Health at the University of North Dakota medical school.
Schwartz was the scientific director of the Prostate Cancer Center of Excellent at the Wake Forest medical school since 1999. He also was an associate professor in cancer biology, urology, and epidemiology and prevention.
Faculty in the new department will conduct research on health and disease in populations, teach and train in public health and related disciplines, and work with other researchers, clinicians, communities and institutions.
Schwartz says he's honored to be working on improving population health for North Dakotans.
2014 ND FATALS
2014 fatal crashes, victims down in North Dakota from 2013
Preliminary numbers from the Highway Patrol show fewer fatal crashes with fewer victims in North Dakota last year compared to 2013.
The patrol says 136 people died in 122 fatal crashes on North Dakota roadways in 2014, down from 148 victims in 133 fatal crashes the previous year.
Troopers in 2014 made 1,677 arrests for driving under the influence, down from 1,936 in 2013. They issued 9,320 seat belt citations, up from 8,787 the year before.
Troopers worked more than 15,000 overtime hours to enhance traffic safety in 2014, compared with more than 14,000 hours the previous year.
Civics legislation headed to Gov. Jack Dalrymple's desk
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A bill is headed to Gov. Jack Dalrymple that would require North Dakota high school students to take the same test that immigrants must pass to become a U.S. citizen.
North Dakota's Senate approved the measure Tuesday by a 43-4 vote. The proposal also sailed through the House earlier this month by an 85-1 vote.
The legislation requires students to correctly answer 60 percent of the 100 questions on the U.S. citizenship test to graduate high school or earn a GED diploma starting in the 2016-2017 school year. Students must achieve a 70-percent passing grade in subsequent years.
First lady Betsy Dalrymple has been a big supporter of the bill and co-chaired a committee to make it state law.
THIN ICE WARNING
Feds warn of thin ice on North Dakota, South Dakota water
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal authorities are encouraging people in North Dakota and South Dakota to watch out for quickly changing ice conditions on all reservoirs in the states.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says winter snowpack that's melting due to warmer than normal temperatures has increased water inflows enough to cause rapid shifts in ice conditions.
Dakotas Area Office manager David Rosenkrance says the changing water elevations and increased runoff create thin ice that makes rivers and lakes unsafe. He says the elevations change the ice conditions with no warning.
OIL COMPANY SUED
Judge says North Dakota oil patch lawsuit can move forward
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge says a lawsuit against a major oil company doing business in the North Dakota oil patch can move forward.
Judge Ralph Erickson's ruling grants conditional class action status to the suit filed by a former employee of Schlumberger (schlum-ber-ZHAY'), which provides technology and other support services for the oil and gas industry.
The suit alleges that employees worked more than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week, and that the company used a fluctuating work week to avoid paying overtime.
Erickson says the class should be limited to employees working at the Williston site. It's not clear how many workers would be covered in the suit.
Attorneys for the two sides did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Minnesota man pleads guilty on federal gambling charges
(Information in the following story is from: KFGO-AM, http://www.kfgo.com )
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Minnesota man accused of running an illegal gambling operation in North Dakota has pleaded guilty.
Sixty-nine-year-old Gerald Greenfield, of Bloomington, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to interstate transmittal of wagering information and conspiracy to commit money laundering. A separate charge of conducting an illegal sports betting business was dropped.
Federal prosecutors say Greenfield took approximately $10 million each year in wagers and discussed receiving "several million dollars" from gamblers in Fargo. Greenfield allegedly ran the gambling operation for four years and made an annual profit of between $500,000 and $600,000.
James Henderson, of Santa Monica, California, is Greenfield's attorney. Henderson says Greenfield has never denied that he was involved in bookmaking and that all the agreement does is "formally admit that on the record."
American Indian tribes to discuss legal pot at conference
SEATTLE (AP) — American Indian tribes wrestling with whether to legalize marijuana have scheduled a national conference on the topic next month in Washington state.
Organizer Robert Odawi Porter, a tribal law expert and former president of Seneca Nation in New York, says there's been a lot of discussion among tribes since the Justice Department announced in December that it would allow them to grow and sell marijuana.
A few tribes have expressed interest in the legal pot business. But for many, concerns about substance abuse are paramount. Porter says the conference will explore the legal, business, social and cultural questions facing tribes when it comes to marijuana.
The Feb. 27 event at the Tulalip Resort Casino is being co-sponsored by Seattle attorneys Hilary Bricken and Robert McVay, who have hosted other conferences on legal pot.
GUNS IN SCHOOL
ND mulls measure to allow concealed-carry guns in school
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow concealed-carry permit holders to pack guns at schools, if officials allow it.
Education officials told the House Education Committee Tuesday that they are opposed to the measure. They say teachers should not take on the role of law enforcement.
The proposal would require someone who wants to carry a gun in school to undergo training with local law enforcement.
A similar measure that would allow teachers and other school officials to carry guns at school failed two years ago in the Legislature.
Republican Rep. Dwight Kiefert of Valley City says the bill is especially aimed at rural schools where it may take law enforcement a long time to respond. He says just passing the law also would serve as a deterrent.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Man, woman found shot to death in Dickinson
DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Dickinson police say a couple has been found shot to death in the basement of a home.
Police officers and an ambulance crew were called to the home late Friday and found 35-year-old Angelique Spenser and 53-year-old Steven Parker. Both victims had been shot once, and a handgun was found at the scene.
Spencer and Parker were pronounced dead in an emergency room. Police say the two lived in Dickinson, with Spencer recently moving from Nebraska, and were believed to be romantically involved.
Police say there were no signs of forced entry or a struggle, and the public is not believed to be in danger.
Pantry opens in ND to help owners feed their dogs, cats
(Information in the following story is from: KXMB-TV, http://www.kxnet.com)
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A pantry has opened in North Dakota to help pet owners who are struggling to feed their cats and dogs.
KXMB-TV reports that Atti's Eats pet pantry is now providing assistance to pet owners. The Bismarck-based pantry provides food for cats and dogs across the state.
Founder Alison Smith says she was inspired to open the pantry after she rescued an extremely thin dog covered in porcupine quills last year.
Volunteer Judy Kroh says people need the companionship of their pets during challenging times such as cancer treatments. It is during those difficult situations that the pantry is hoping to help pet owners.
Smith says food donations have been piling up. Food can be dropped off at three Bismarck locations: Tractor Supply Co., Western Unlimited and Animal Kingdom.
19 Grand Forks businesses adopt lactation policies
(Information in the following story is from: WDAZ-TV, http://wdaz.com)
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — City leaders in Grand Forks are trying to make the city friendlier for nursing infants and their mothers.
Mandy Burbank with Grand Forks Public Health says 8 out of 10 new moms are breast feeding their newborns when they leave the hospital, but that becomes difficult to continue when they return to their jobs.
In 2010, a federal law was passed requiring businesses to provide a space and break time for an employee to feed or pump.
Now a recent grant from the North Dakota Department of Health Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is helping Grand Forks administrators encourage more businesses to incorporate nursing-supportive environments to help mothers returning to the workforce.
So far, 19 businesses in town have adopted such lactation policies.
Rural Williston school district plans to expand to K-12
(Information in the following story is from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com)
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A school district serving rural areas around Williston plans to transition to a K through 12 district within four years.
District Number 8 currently has grades kindergarten through eight. The Williston Herald reports that the school board voted earlier this month to expand in the coming years.
The district plans to add the additional grade levels in tiers. It has not yet developed a budget, staffing or curriculum plan.
West Fargo 6th-graders build app to help class start on time
WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A group of West Fargo sixth graders has continued a trend started by other students in the city by winning its state competition in a national app-creation challenge.
The 'School Handy" app produced by seven Liberty Middle School students made West Fargo the only city in the nation to win Best in State in Verizon's Innovative App Challenge for three years in a row.
The app is designed to show students what supplies they need for class on a daily basis and to help them locate lost items with real-time updates on the school's lost and found repository.
The students were attempting to be the city's third straight national winner, joining Cheney Middle School's Snap Docs app last year and STEM Center Middle School's Recycling Bin app in 2013.
Comments sought on proposed sewer extension in Minot
MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking comments on a proposed sewer extension project in Minot.
Minot officials have proposed the construction of an approximately one-mile length sewer main on the south side of the city. The project would be designed to extend the existing sanitary sewer system and provide service to an area where septic systems are failing.
The Corps of Engineers is providing funding assistance for the project.
The public can submit comments on the First Larson West Sanitary Sewer Project - Highway 83 Extension through February 23rd.
ND health officials reminding residents to test for radon
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota health officials are reminding residents to test their homes for radon, a leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Justin Otto is the Indoor Air Quality and Radon Program Coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Health. Otto says radon is a cancer-causing, naturally occurring radioactive gas that can't be seen, smelled or tasted and is found throughout the soil in North Dakota.
Health officials say months with cold weather are a good time to test homes for radon. Otto says 63 percent of North Dakota homes have an elevated radon level. Mitigation systems can be installed to lower the level.
Otto says more than 21,000 people die every year in the U.S. due to radon-related illnesses.
The state is providing radon testing kits.
Ashley couple shares story of shifting to holistic ranching
(Information in the following story is from: KXMC-TV, http://www.kxnet.com)
MINOT, N.D. (AP) — An Ashley couple says a shift to holistic beef ranching has helped them reduce their debt and operating costs and improved the quality of life for them and their cattle.
Cody and Deanna Sand shared their story this week at the North Dakota Grazing Lands Winter Conference in Minot, where they first heard about the simplified approach to raising livestock.
They told KXMC-TV that with their debt increasing and profit decreasing, they needed to make a change.
The Sands sold equipment they didn't need to reduce debt. And they reduced the amount of hay and supplements fed to their cattle by changing winter grazing and calving patterns, which made the land more productive.
Minnesota man accused of escaping from Fargo halfway house
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man serving time on a racketeering charge is accused of walking away from a Fargo halfway house.
Kieron Kier is charged in federal court with escape from custody. Authorities say he was signed out from Centre Inc. on a weekend pass in November and never returned.
Kier was arrested on January 13th in White Earth, Minnesota.
Kier was convicted for conspiracy to participate in racketeering activities and sentenced in July 2013 to more than three years in prison.
Arraignment on the escape charge is scheduled Thursday in Fargo. A federal public defender was not available for comment.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.