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Latest North Dakota News
Wednesday, March 29th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT
OIL PIPELINE-THE LATEST

The Latest: Activist pleads not guilty in pipeline protest

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An American Indian activist accused of inciting a riot during protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota has pleaded not guilty.

Chase Iron Eyes entered his plea Tuesday. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted on the felony charge. He also faces a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass.

Iron Eyes and 73 others were arrested Feb. 1 after setting up teepees on land that authorities say is owned by pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners. Protesters maintain they were peacefully assembling on land they believe rightfully belongs to American Indians.

Iron Eyes has said he doesn't dispute his involvement but that he wasn't the leader of the effort and had no authority to stop it.

GUNS IN SCHOOL

North Dakota Senate rejects guns in schools measure

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Senate has rejected a proposal that would allow trained staff members to carry concealed firearms in schools.

The Senate voted 27-18 to kill the legislation on Tuesday. It would allow up to 10 schools to participate in the guns-in-schools "pilot program." The House passed the bill in February.

The bill is aimed at rural schools without a school resource officer, since it takes law enforcement time to respond to an emergency situation.

Some education groups say the measure opens schools to lawsuits and higher insurance costs.

Ardent pro-gun lawmakers have unsuccessfully pushed similar legislation in the two prior sessions.

The bill would require 80 hours of training for potential gun-packing school officials. Schools also would be required to provide them counseling after a shooting incident.

OIL PIPELINE-KEY PLAYERS

What completed Dakota Access pipeline means for key players

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Oil has been pumped into a controversial section of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, but that doesn't put an end to the saga that began nearly a year ago.

Four Sioux tribes in North Dakota and South Dakota have a lawsuit pending in federal court and hope to persuade a judge to shut down the pipeline.

The Cheyenne River tribe has a protest camp operating in southern North Dakota, with about 25 people. Tribal spokesman Remi Bald Eagle says the camp's future depends on the litigation.

A large law enforcement presence in the area is being scaled back, but North Dakota is still trying to recoup more than $38 million in policing costs from the federal government.

There also are hundreds of protest-related cases making their way through the state's court system.

HOMELESS SHELTERS-FUNDING

North Dakota homeless shelters to face reduced funding

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota lawmakers are considering reducing funding for homeless shelters around the state.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the Commerce Department's education and environment subcommittee discussed the funding issue last week.

The state Legislature has given $2 million and $1.5 million the past two years in one-time funding for the North Dakota Homeless Grant. This year, the grant will probably not exceed $300,000.

The Commerce Department says that the grant funds outreach and shelters around the state. It also helps fund a central information system required before federal funding can be received.

The funding discussion comes as police found a homeless man frozen to death in the city last week.

April Fairfield of the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People says the cuts would affect vulnerable homeless people.

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OIL PATCH POPULATION

Population declines in oil patch cities

(Information from: KXMB-TV, http://www.kxnet.com)

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Oil patch cities in North Dakota are experiencing a declining population in contrast to rapid growth in the recent past.

The population in Dickinson and Williston dropped about three percent last year.

KXMB reports the exodus of people is largely due to fewer job opportunities, as the state's energy sector continues to try and rebound amid the price slump of oil.

Dickinson Convention and Visitor's Bureau director Terri Thiel says she's starting to get calls again from people looking for work in the oil industry.

She says even though she advertises for visitors, the bureau tried to market Dickinson as a permanent home to those who came during the oil boom.

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GOVERNOR BONUSES

Burgum vetoes bill limited bonuses from the governor

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has vetoed a measure that would limit employee bonuses from the governor.

Burgum on Monday rejected the bill, saying it "places unprecedented and intentional restrictions" on a governor's ability to recruit and retain key employees.

It was Burgum's first veto of a bill since the Republican won the governorship in November.

The measure was spurred after then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple approved nearly $100,000 in retention bonuses for five staffers in 2015. It was the first time a governor had used the bonus program.

Leaders of both parties criticized the bonuses, and the president of the union that represents more than 11,500 public employees said the bonuses to Dalrymple's inner circle hurt state employees' morale.


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

Tuesday, March 28th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT
OIL PIPELINE

Company: Oil in pipeline under Missouri River reservoir

The developer of the Dakota Access pipeline says oil has been placed in the pipe under a Missouri River reservoir and the full line will be in service soon.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners made the announcement in a court filing Monday.

The move comes despite months of protests and the objections of two American Indian tribes who say a rupture could threaten their water supply and cultural sites. The Sioux tribes still have an unresolved lawsuit seeking to stop the project.

The company says the four-state, 1,200-mile (1930-kilometer) pipeline is safe. The U.S. government gave ETP permission to complete the project after Republican President Donald Trump took office.

The protests were centered in North Dakota.

SPILL REPORTING

Legislature cuts reporting requirement for oil field spills

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Legislature has endorsed a bill that relaxes rules for reporting oil field spills.

The Senate approved the bill 31-14 on Monday that no longer requires companies to report spills 10 barrels or less that are contained at a well site. A barrel is 42 gallons.

The House passed the measure in January. Companies are still required to report spills that escape from a well site, and they must clean up all spills.

Northwest Landowners Association Chairman Troy Coons says his group of more than 500 ranchers, farmers and property owners opposed the bill. Coons says all spills should be reported.

State data show there were more than 1,250 spills contained to well sites last year, and more than half of them were less than 10 barrels.

GOVERNOR BONUSES

Burgum vetoes bill limited bonuses from the governor

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has vetoed a measure that would limit employee bonuses from the governor.

Burgum on Monday rejected the bill, saying it "places unprecedented and intentional restrictions" on a governor's ability to recruit and retain key employees.

It was Burgum's first veto of a bill since the Republican won the governorship in November.

The measure was spurred after then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple approved nearly $100,000 in retention bonuses for five staffers in 2015. It was the first time a governor had used the bonus program.

Leaders of both parties criticized the bonuses, and the president of the union that represents more than 11,500 public employees said the bonuses to Dalrymple's inner circle hurt state employees' morale.

OVERDOSE REVERSED

Ward County deputy uses antidote to reverse man's overdose

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A Ward County sheriff's deputy has used an overdose antidote to save a man who reportedly had overdosed on heroin.

Sheriff's deputies overheard a radio traffic call for an ambulance in the area of a trailer park in southeast Minot early Saturday. The caller said a man was unconscious because of a heroin overdose, so deputies responded and found the man unconscious.

The deputy administered Narcan, the brand name of the overdose antidote naloxone. The sheriff's department says the man recovered a few minutes later and was treated by an ambulance crew.

The sheriff's department bought Narcan to offset opioid overdoses several months ago. This is the first time a Ward County deputy has used the medication since all patrol deputies began carrying it.

SCHOOL CHOICE

More North Dakota parents vouching for school choice

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — More parents in North Dakota are opting for private schools and homeschooling at a time where the debate regarding school choice has grown into a national conversation.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the North Dakota Legislature considered launching a two-year study this year on the feasibility of a more formal school choice program. The bill passed into the House but was later turned down in the Senate.

While there are no charter schools and very few virtual schools in the state, recent data shows more parents are already choosing an alternative education for their kids.

Light of Christ Catholic Schools president Gerald Vetter says more parents are choosing private schools because they better align with the family's philosophies and religious beliefs.

A Department of Public Instruction report shows nearly 2,000 students enrolled in Burleigh County private schools this year.

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ICE RESCUE

Men rescued after breaking through ice in Richland County

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

LIDGERWOOD, N.D. (AP) — Two brothers suffered hypothermia but survived following an attempt to rescue a dog from a lake in Richland County.

Sheriff Larry Leshovsky says a dog belonging to one of the brothers broke through the thin ice on Grass Lake Sunday. One man attempted to rescue the dog and broke through the ice. KFGO reports the second man tried to rescue his brother and also went through the ice.

Leshovsky says that by chance the brothers' shouts for help could be heard some distance away because there was little wind. Lidgerwood firefighters responded to a 911 call and pulled the men, Jeff and Jesse Lyons, from the water. They were taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Breckenridge. The dog did not survive.

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

Monday, March 27th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT
CAPITOL PREVIEW

Time short for North Dakota Legislature to finish budget

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Legislature is starting to run out of time to finish work that includes adopting a balanced budget for the next two-year budget cycle.

The most recent budget estimates are that revenues will fall nearly $672 million short of the proposed $4.3 billion spending plan for the general fund.

Lawmakers say they are confident money can be found or moved around from various reserve funds to cover the deficit.

Conference committees also will be hard at work reconciling differing versions of bills that have been endorsed in the other chamber. When agreements are reached, those bills go back to the full Senate and House for approval.

BISMARCK BRIDGE

BNSF planning new railroad bridge in Bismarck-Mandan

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A new railroad bridge connecting Bismarck and Mandan could be built as soon as next year.

BNSF Railway is in the early stages of planning a new crossing over the Missouri River. The new bridge would replace one of Bismarck's oldest and most recognizable landmarks.

BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth tells The Bismarck Tribune the current bridge is reaching the end of its useful lifespan. The current bridge was built in 1882 and has spans dating to 1905.

McBeth says the bridge is still structurally sound, but part of BNSF's bridge management plan includes evaluating bridges across the company's network.

She says the railroad is evaluating whether to take the old bridge down.

Up to 16 trains daily cross the bridge. Building the bridge opened the way for travel westward.

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SPELLING CHAMP

North Dakota crowns 2017 state spelling bee champion

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota has crowned a new spelling bee champion.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that after spelling the word "fibula" correctly 12-year-old Rayne Korsmo was named this year's North Dakota State Spelling Bee champion. This was his third year in the competition.

Korsmo's mom, Debbie Korsmo, has been practicing words with her son for an hour each day since January. Korsmo home-schools her four children.

She says he felt less nervous than previous years and was more prepared.

Korsmo now advances to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., beginning May 28.

He says his goals at the national spelling bee are to "have fun" and "do the best" he can.

Korsmo, of Grand Forks County, is the younger brother of Ty Korsmo, the 2012 state spelling bee winner.

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RIVER PLUNGE

Man survives fall into Red River in downtown Fargo

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

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a man has survived a fall into a dangerous stretch of the Red River in downtown Fargo.

The man was walking on the rock riprap at the bottom of a dam when he fell into the river Saturday afternoon. The current in that area is treacherous but he was able to make it to shore.

Fargo Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Rasmussen says a passer-by put the man in a car to keep him warm until first responders arrived. He was treated at the scene by F-M Ambulance and then taken to a hospital to be checked for possible hypothermia.

KFGO-AM reports the man's name and condition are not available.

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OUTDOORS-LICENSES

Anglers, goose hunters, trappers need new licenses Saturday

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota anglers, spring light goose hunters and trappers are being reminded that new licenses are required starting Saturday.

The state Game and Fish Department says the licenses for the 2017-18 season are valid from April 1 of this year to next March 31.

Anglers and hunters can purchase new licenses through the Game and Fish website or at more than 140 vendor locations around the state.

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Online:

Game and Fish: www.gf.nd.gov

PHEASANT SEASON

Earlier start to pheasant season could boost local economies

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An earlier start to the pheasant season could add a boost to local economies in areas where pheasant hunting is big business.

A new law requires North Dakota's pheasant season to open no later than Oct. 12. This year, the season will start the Saturday before that date — on Oct. 7.

Don Gion, operator of the Crocus Inn bed and breakfast in Regent, told the Bismarck Tribune he can't imagine how the earlier start wouldn't be good for the economy.

Jeb Williams of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department says he doesn't think the change will affect the birds. But early in the season it can be hard to distinguish males from females, which are prohibited.

The season traditionally started on the second Saturday of October.

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

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