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Friday, January 20th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CST
DEPUTY-SUSPECT KILLED

Deputy killed in North Dakota shootout had just started job

(Information from: WDAY-TV, http://wday.com)

ROLLA, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a sheriff's deputy and a suspect are dead after a shootout in northern North Dakota that involved several officers firing weapons.

Rolette County Sheriff Gerald Medrud says 29-year-old Colt Allery had been with the department for three months after previously working for other area law agencies.

The incident began about 6:10 p.m. Wednesday when officers responded to a stolen vehicle call. Deputies pursued the vehicle for about 15 miles before a shootout began at a remote intersection south of Belcourt, a town near the Canadian border that's about 60 miles from Devils Lake.

The suspect, who has not been identified, also was killed. Medrud says three other deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on standard administrative leave. North Dakota's state crime bureau is investigating the case.

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This story has been corrected to show that officers caught up with the pickup about 60 miles from Devils Lake, not 200 miles; and that the sheriff's first name is Gerald, not Gearald.

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OIL COMPANY FINED

Williams County fines oil transportation company

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

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Williams County officials have reinstated a fine against an oil transportation company for failing to pay fees and comply with zoning regulations while it was operating company housing several years ago.

The Williston Herald reports county commissioners decided Tuesday to impose a $1.2 million fine against Western Petroleum LLC and its parent company, Pilot Logistics.

The total amount is a $1,000 fine for each day the company failed to pay fees for non-renewal of a conditional use permit, being out of compliance with zoning regulations and operating temporary housing.

A fine of $29.6 million was first issued to Western Petroleum in 2014 after officials discovered the lapses.

In response to the fines, the company has filed a suit in district court.

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OIL PIPELINE-LAWSUITS-THE LATEST

The Latest: Pipeline protest clash causes injuries, arrests

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Six police officers suffered minor injuries and one protester was taken to a hospital after a clash between law enforcement and opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline in southern North Dakota.

The Morton County Sheriff's Office says the clash occurred Wednesday night at a blockaded bridge near the protesters' main encampment along the route of the $3.8 billion pipeline to carry North Dakota oil to Illinois. Opponents worry the pipeline will harm the environment.

Authorities say the officers used less-than-lethal ammunition against protesters, including bean bag rounds and tear gas.

The officers suffered ankle, shoulder, wrist and hand injuries. The protester who was taken to a hospital suffered a face injury. Protesters reported other injuries on social media.

Twenty-one protesters were arrested, bringing total arrests since Aug. 10 to 624.

DRUG TRAFFICKING-GUILTY PLEA

Stripper pleads guilty to running multi-state drug ring

(Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com)

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A woman who prosecutors said ran a drug trafficking ring that stretched from northern Idaho to North Dakota has pleaded guilty in federal court.

The Spokesman-Review reports 52-year-old Loren Michelle Toelle of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to launder money.

Prosecutors said Toelle, who worked as a stripper in Las Vegas, used her former husband's money to distribute oxycodone, heroin and methamphetamine. Toelle recently divorced Coeur d'Alene gastroenterologist Dr. Stanley Toelle, and maintains he had no part in the criminal behavior. The doctor is also facing charges in the case and is set to stand trial in March.

Loren Toelle is the ninth of 11 defendants to plead guilty in connection with the drug ring. U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said in a prepared statement that the case shows that officials in Idaho will bring to justice those "who seek to poison communities with dangerous, addictive drugs."

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FRAUD SCHEME-SENTENCING

Williston woman sentenced to 33 months on wire fraud charge

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A judge says a woman accused of embezzling more than $2.8 million from a Williston heavy equipment company must serve nearly three years in federal prison.

Forty-four-year-old Daphney Harstad pleaded guilty in the fall to wire fraud for allegedly dipping into funds while working as an office manager and bookkeeper for Borsheim Crane.

Authorities say Harstad used the money to buy luxury jewelry and other merchandise from companies, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co. and Michael Kors. She's accused of using fraudulent checks from the company to pay for merchandise she ordered online.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland sentenced Harstad to 33 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

OIL PIPELINE-THE LATEST

The Latest: Out-of-state lawyers approved for protest cases

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court will allow lawyers from other states to temporarily help with cases stemming from the Dakota Access pipeline protest.

The justices said Wednesday that there's no evidence that any defendants have been denied counsel because they couldn't find a lawyer in North Dakota, but recognize the potential for "delay or inconvenience" due to the large number of arrests.

The high court says there have been 553 court cases filed in the state's South Central Judicial District as of Dec. 19, resulting in assignments to 81 attorneys. A large number of arrests occurred on single days, including one day when 71 lawyers were asked to serve.

Lawyers not licensed in North Dakota are normally required to work on a case with an attorney who is approved by the state.


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

Thursday, January 19th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CST
STABBING DEATH-VEGAS

Coroner IDs Dakota man killed in fight with brother in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Authorities in Las Vegas have identified a 40-year-old man who was stabbed to death during a fight with his brother in a case that police say may be ruled self-defense.

The Clark County coroner said Wednesday that Justin Dale Boyer of St. John, North Dakota, died Monday at a hospital after being injured late Sunday. His death was ruled a homicide.

Police didn't identify the brother. Officer Danny Cordero says he was questioned but not immediately arrested pending a review of the case by the Clark County district attorney.

Police say a roommate separated the men, but Boyer renewed the attack at a home several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

Neighbors summoned police about a bleeding man screaming outside the house, and police say both brothers were hospitalized.

OIL PIPELINE-THE LATEST

The Latest: Out-of-state lawyers approved for protest cases

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Supreme Court will allow lawyers from other states to temporarily help with cases stemming from the Dakota Access pipeline protest.

The justices said Wednesday that there's no evidence that any defendants have been denied counsel because they couldn't find a lawyer in North Dakota, but recognize the potential for "delay or inconvenience" due to the large number of arrests.

The high court says there have been 553 court cases filed in the state's South Central Judicial District as of Dec. 19, resulting in assignments to 81 attorneys. A large number of arrests occurred on single days, including one day when 71 lawyers were asked to serve.

Lawyers not licensed in North Dakota are normally required to work on a case with an attorney who is approved by the state.

BURGUM-GOVERNOR'S MANSION

Burgum wants additions to governor's mansion; GOP says no

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Multimillionaire North Dakota Republican Gov. Doug Burgum wants to pay for additions such as heated garage floor to a new $5 million governor's mansion but GOP leaders say no.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson and his Republican Senate counterpart, Rich Wardner, say the design already has been approved by a committee and the new governor doesn't get to change anything just because he's willing to pay for it.

Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki says the governor wants to add such things as a skylight and a heated garage floor to the new mansion that already is under construction. Nowatzki says all of the additions are energy-efficient items that will save taxpayers money.

The Legislature in 2015 approved construction of governor's the home, stipulating that $1 million of its cost must be funded by private donations.

SHERIFF CHARGED

New North Dakota governor allows sheriff removal to proceed

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

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's new governor is allowing removal proceedings to go forward against Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski.

Ward County commissioners voted earlier this month to ask Gov. Doug Burgum to dismiss the removal proceedings, or to lift Kukowski's suspension.

But the Minot Daily News reports Burgum responded he has no authority under state law to take either action.

Former Gov. Jack Dalrymple initiated removal proceedings after a special prosecutor handling misdemeanor charges against Kukowski petitioned the action last March. Dalrymple suspended Kukowski in June, pending a removal hearing that has been delayed until the criminal case is decided.

Kukowski faces misdemeanor charges related to an October 2014 incident in which an ill jail inmate died after being transported to a law enforcement agency in Bismarck. Kukowski maintains his innocence.

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COMMISSIONER ATTENDANCE

City official misses nearly half of meetings held in 3 years

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

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — A city commissioner first elected in 1990 has missed 42 percent of the meetings held by the commission in the past three years.

The Devils Lake Journal reports that City Commissioner Rick Morse has missed 51 of the 121 meetings held, including special budget meetings.

Morse says a reason for his absences is due to his duties as a respiratory therapist. He says while he has missed nearly half of the commission's meetings, he keeps current with his portfolio.

Mayor Richard Johnson says commissioners do not have attendance requirements.

Morse hasn't said if he plans to run for another term. He will be up for re-election in 2018.

City meetings are held twice a month, on Monday evenings.

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ARMED CONFRONTATION-MINOT

Injured suspect arrested in armed confrontation

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

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A person injured in a shooting at a Minot trailer park has been arrested.

Police were called to the Northland Trailer Park Tuesday afternoon following a report of gunshots. Officers sealed off the area and urged Ramstad Middle School to lock down.

The Minot Daily News reports police say a suspect was taken into custody about 4 p.m. and transported to Trinity Hospital with injuries. A release from the city did not say how the suspect was wounded or who inflicted the injuries.

No officers were injured in the confrontation.

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

Wednesday, January 18th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CST
STATE HIRING FREEZE

Agencies, union oppose North Dakota hiring freeze bill

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Several North Dakota agency officials and the union representing state workers are opposing a measure that would prevent filling any vacant state government jobs until the end of April.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner and their fellow GOP leaders of the appropriations committees are pushing the legislation amid a downturn in oil and agriculture prices.

Carlson says any filling any vacant position within the state can wait until the state has a better revenue picture for the next two-year budget cycle.

But Corrections Director Leann Bertsch says turnover is high in the prison system and a hiring freeze will result in increased overtime and other costs.

North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta says the amount of work does not decrease when employees are cut.

OIL PIPELINE-THE LATEST

The Latest: Hearing set on Dakota Access pipeline study

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A judge has scheduled a hearing on a request by the developer of the Dakota Access pipeline to block the Army Corps of Engineers from launching a full environmental study of a disputed crossing in North Dakota.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg (BOHZ'-burg) to stop the Corps from publishing a notice in the Federal Register announcing the study. Boasberg set a hearing on the matter Wednesday.

ETP wants any further study put on hold until Boasberg rules on whether ETP already has the necessary permission to lay pipe under Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's water source.

The Corps disputes permission has been granted, and says study is needed on alternate routes.

ETP says the $3.8 billion, four-state pipeline is safe.

FRAUD SCHEME-SENTENCING

Former Williston bookkeeper faces wire fraud charges

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

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A former employee accused of embezzling more than $2.8 million over nearly a decade from a Williston heavy equipment company is being sentenced this week in federal court.

The Williston Herald reports 44-year-old Daphney Harstad is charged with wire fraud for allegedly dipping into funds while working as an office manager and bookkeeper for Borsheim Crane.

Authorities say Harstad used the money to buy luxury jewelry and other merchandise from companies, including Louis Vuitton and Tiffany and Co.

Court documents say Harstad allegedly used fraudulent checks from the company to pay for merchandise she ordered online.

Harstad pleaded guilty in the fall and faces a possible maximum sentence of 30 years. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

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FARGO BAR ASSAULT

Last of 4 men sentenced in beating death must serve 20 years

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

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A judge says the last of four men to be sentenced in the beating death of a man outside a Fargo bar must serve 20 years in prison.

KFGO radio reports that prosecutors had recommended a sentence of 15 years for Scott Moen, who pleaded guilty to murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

Moen and three other men were convicted in the May 2015 death of 35-year-old Joey Gaarsland. Police say he was defending his wife during an argument that began in the bar and ended up in the parking lot.

Two other defendants, Jessy Olson and Nicholas Morris, were sentenced to 20 years in prison. A fourth man, Jason Oien, was sentenced to 15 years.

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GAY DISCRIMINATION

North Dakota considers bill banning sexual discrimination

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — For the fourth time in eight years, the North Dakota Legislature will consider legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The bipartisan legislation introduced this session would add sexual orientation to the list of classes of individuals who are specifically protected against discrimination.

Similar legislation failed during the 2009, 2013 and 2015 sessions.

Opponents have said it's unnecessary, and argued it could force businesses and religious organizations to go against their own convictions.

Backers say many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people fear they could lose their jobs or residences under current state law.

COAL MINING LAWSUIT-TEXAS

Texas, 12 other states sue to block Obama coal mining rule

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas and 12 other states have asked a federal court to block final rules from President Barack Obama's administration designed to reduce coal mining's impact on streams.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton petitioned a Washington-based appeals court for an injunction Tuesday.

Paxton said in a statement that the "Stream Protection Rule" imposes "mandatory, one-size-fits-all" regulations that violate states' rights.

Joining Texas are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Last month, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a separate lawsuit challenging the rule there.

The U.S. Interior Department argues that the rule will protect 6,000 miles of streams by preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby waters.

Republicans have vowed to overturn it under President-elect Donald Trump.

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Eds: This story has been updated with the Texas attorney general's office correcting its original statement to say it is joining 12 states in seeking to block federal rule, not 13. This version removes South Carolina and Arizona from the list of parties to the case, but adds Colorado.


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