ANGEL FUND APP
Local angel fund from Dakotas gets farm-tech app
(Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A North Dakota tech company is using a $1.35 million angel investment fund in Sioux Falls to launch a new app for the agriculture industry.
The Argus Leader reports that Myriad Mobile of Fargo announced this month that it has raised $1.5 million to launch an app that streamlines contracts between farmers and grain elevators.
Myriad CEO Jake Joraanstad says the company met the Falls Angel Fund team through the Innovation Expo in Sioux Falls and pitched them early in the hunt for investment.
Joraanstad says that Myriad is preparing for a product launch and possible partner announcement later this month.
An angel investment fund helps finance local business start-ups that show potential for growth. The Falls Angel Fund is managed through the South Dakota Enterprise Institute.
JAMAICAN LOTTERY SCAM
US trial in Jamaican lottery scam delayed until next year
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A U.S. trial for 10 defendants in a multimillion-dollar Jamaican lottery scam case has been delayed until early next year.
Federal Judge Dan Hovland has rescheduled the trial that was to begin July 17 in North Dakota to Jan. 22, 2018. One of the suspects' attorneys said he had a conflict next month and also needed more time to prepare.
Federal prosecutors didn't object. U.S. Attorney Chris Myers anticipates the trial might last as long as three weeks.
Authorities allege the scam bilked at least 90 mostly elderly Americans out of more than $5.7 million. The case is being tried in North Dakota because the investigation began in the state in 2012.
There are five other suspects. Two are in custody in Jamaica awaiting extradition. Three remain fugitives.
SALTWATER DUMPING-SUPREME COURT
Firm accused of dumping asks North Dakota high court to rule
(Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com)
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A trucking company accused of illegally dumping salty oilfield wastewater on a northwest North Dakota road in 2014 wants to take its case to the state Supreme Court.
The Bismarck Tribune reports that Wyoming-based Black Hills Trucking Inc. says it already paid a $200,000 fine to the state Health Department so it should not have to pay another $950,000 to the state Industrial Commission for the same violations.
An administrative law judge last year ruled the Industrial Commission did not have jurisdiction because the incident occurred on a public road. The state Industrial Commission says it still has jurisdiction in the case and a state district court agreed.
Company attorney John Morrison says there was no evidence of environmental damage.
North Dakota men's hockey recruits include NHL-level talent
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Two NHL draft picks are among eight players who have signed letters of intent to play hockey for the University of North Dakota next season.
Forward Collin Adams from Brighton, Michigan, was drafted last year by the New York Islanders in the sixth round, 170th overall. He's spent the last two seasons with the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Goalie Peter Thome of Minneapolis also was drafted in the sixth round last year, No. 155 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played for three USHL teams last season.
Another recruit is forward Grant Mismash of Edina, Minnesota. He's ranked 24th among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau for this year's draft, which is this weekend.
INTERIOR SECRETARY HOMECOMING
Eco-group billboard blitz to greet Interior chief in Montana
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Environmental groups are planning to give President Donald Trump's Interior Department secretary an unexpected homecoming when he returns to his Montana hometown next week.
Ryan Zinke is scheduled to address the Western Governors Association's annual conference Tuesday in the town of Whitefish.
He'll be welcomed by billboards that urge him not to touch the Upper Missouri River Breaks, one of two dozen national monuments he's reviewing to eliminate or scale back protections.
Television ads will tell him to leave alone a conservation plan by the Obama administration and 11 Western states to protect the sage grouse, an imperiled bird.
Public land advocates also will speak in a park the day before Zinke's address.
Various groups are hoping to get the attention of Zinke and 11 governors gathering Monday through Wednesday.
Emergency CRP grazing authorized in the Dakotas and Montana
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land in the Dakotas and Montana in response to drought.
Perdue says that without alternative forage options, ranchers could be devastated economically. The emergency grazing is authorized to begin immediately, and extends through Sept. 30 unless conditions improve.
Parts of all three states are experiencing severe or extreme drought.
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven says other federal drought aid also is available to ranchers in counties classified as being in extreme drought. The assistance is through the Agriculture Department's Livestock Forage Disaster Program.
Counties in extreme drought are immediately eligible. For counties in severe drought, eligibility begins after eight straight weeks of drought.
U.S. Drought Monitor: http://bit.ly/2rIJOs6
Drought helps North America's largest white pelican refuge
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Abnormally dry weather has been a boon to American white pelicans nesting on a North Dakota island known as North America's largest refuge for the big-billed birds.
Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge manager Neil Shook says the dry spell appears to have curbed years of wet weather and surging water levels that threatened to swamp the main nesting island at the refuge.
Shook says island has shrunk by half in recent years, to 12 acres.
He says the big birds still have plenty of nesting room. An aerial survey completed this week showed some 27,120 breeding adults have returned from as far away as California and the Gulf Coast.
The count is among the highest recorded.
Drought conditions worsen dramatically in North Dakota
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Drought conditions have worsened dramatically in North Dakota over the past week.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows about 8 percent of the state in extreme drought. None of the state was in that category a week ago.
The areas of extreme drought are in the southwest, central and northwest.
Another 32 percent of the state is severe drought and 27 percent is in moderate drought. The rest of the state is rated abnormally dry.
The drought conditions are harming crops and also have prompted many ranchers to sell off cattle.
Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is hosting a drought meeting at the Farm Credit Services building in Mandan from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesday.
This story has been corrected to show that 32 percent of the state is in severe drought, not 40 percent.
HEALTH CARE MERGER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Sanford, Mid Dakota Clinic merger contested
(Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com)
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission and North Dakota Attorney General are trying to block Sanford Health's proposed merger with Mid Dakota Clinic.
The two agencies jointly filed a complaint in U.S. District Court alleging the deal would violate antitrust law by significantly reducing competition in Bismarck-Mandan.
The regulators are seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the deal until the matter can go to trial.
The two providers told The Bismarck Tribune that the actions are "extremely frustrating" and said they used national, legal and economic experts to evaluate the partnership.
REPORTED INCOME-NORTH DAKOTA
Income, number of taxpayers drop in North Dakota
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Reported income by North Dakotans slipped by more than 3 percent in 2016, while the number of filers sank by about 25,000.
Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger says the decrease in income and the number of taxpayers is due largely to a slump in agriculture and energy prices.
The figures released to The Associated Press compared the income of the same 413,000 taxpayers in in 2015 and 2016. Data show the gross income for the taxpayers dropped from $71,046 in 2015 to $68,507 last year.
A total of 475,000 returns are expected to be filed in 2016, down from about 500,000 in 2015.
The numbers are still well above the pre-oil boom numbers a decade ago.
In 2006, there were 339,000 filers, with an average adjusted gross income of about $43,300.
North Dakota agriculture commissioner slates drought meeting
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is hosting a drought meeting in Mandan on Tuesday.
Goehring says it's an opportunity for farmers and ranchers, agriculture groups and agencies to talk about the drought and options available to producers.
The meeting is at the Farm Credit Services building in Mandan from 2-4 p.m. There will be speakers from North Dakota State University, the federal Agriculture Department and the Farm Service Agency.
Drought conditions have worsened dramatically in North Dakota over the past week. The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows about 8 percent of the state in extreme drought. None of the state was in that category a week ago.
Another 32 percent is in severe drought and 27 percent is in moderate drought. The rest of the state is abnormally dry.
Celebrities help celebrate Fargo's $500 million hospital
(Information from: KVRR-TV, http://kftv.com)
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Celebrities with North Dakota ties traveled to the state to help celebrate Fargo's new $500 million hospital.
KVRR-TV reports that actor Josh Duhamel, singer Fergie and NFL quarterback Carson Wentz were on hand Wednesday for a concert held for Sanford employees and their guests.
Thousands of people attended the bash in a field near the hospital.
The 10-floor medical center opens July 25.
Sanford Health is based in Fargo and Sioux Falls, South 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.
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