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Latest North Dakota News
Thursday, May 25th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
GRAND FORKS-SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Grand Forks leaders head community forum on substance abuse

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — City officials in Grand Forks have scheduled a community forum to talk about substance abuse and addiction.

Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown and city council members Sandra Marshall and Jeannie Mock are scheduled to attend, along with other community leaders.

Brown says substance abuse and related mental health issues are taking a toll on the community. He says community members will have the opportunity to participate on one of four action committees to begin developing a community plan.

The meeting is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Alerus Center.

LEWIS AND CLARK CENTER

Endowment for explorers' center transferred to North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A foundation has transferred a nearly $700,000 endowment trust to support maintenance at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn.

The state took over the center's operations from the financially troubled foundation two years ago.

Former foundation board member and state Parks Director Mark Zimmerman called the announcement of the transfer on Wednesday "disingenuous." He says much of the $700,000 endowment trust transferred to the state was borrowed from the foundation's own endowment fund and had to be repaid.

And he says the foundation only was able to repay the money because of a financial gift from a benefactor's estate.

Foundation president David Borlaug says the foundation did borrow $300,000 from the endowment fund and it was repaid from the benefactor's gift. But he says nothing was done inappropriately.

HORSES SAVED

Court order saves 70 North Dakota horses from slaughter

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

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A court order issued by a North Dakota judge has saved about 70 horses from slaughter.

KFGO radio reports that the Stark County Sheriff's Office says it seized neglected and abused horses and some cattle from the ranch near Gladstone earlier this week. At least 30 of the horses are ready to give birth.

Authorities began an investigation into the case last month. Officials say the animals were to be sold to a feed lot and then sent to slaughter in Canada. However, after negotiations, a judge decided the horses would be turned over to an animal rescue group.

Alison Smith, Founder of Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue in Mandan, says the deal was finalized Tuesday night.

The case remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.

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RESTROOM VIDEOS

Moorhead man accused of taking videos in women's restroom

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

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — A Moorhead man is accused of using a cell phone to take videos inside the women's restroom at a Moorhead restaurant.

Lt. Tory Jacobson tells KFGO radio the videos were made by a former employee at Panchero's Mexican Grill.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Hagen is charged with one felony and three misdemeanor counts of interference with privacy. Police found three videos on Hagen's phone that were recorded between April 12 and May 5.

Court documents say Hagen told investigators he records the videos for his "sexual pleasure." He also told them that he was fired from a previous job for doing the same thing, but police were not contacted.

Hagen faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.

Court documents do not list a lawyer for Hagen.

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HIGH SCHOOL-ADVANCED COURSEWORK

More ND high school students doing advanced coursework

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State education officials say more high schools students in North Dakota are doing advanced coursework.

State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler says the number of students taking Advance Placement exams in a variety of subject increased 31 percent this school year compared to the previous year. Baesler says about 2,500 students took an AP exam this school year.

The superintendent credits a Department of Public Instruction initiative backed by the state Legislature in 2015. The initiative offered any North Dakota high school senior, including those in non-public schools or home school settings, to take at least one Advanced Placement exam in English, math, science or computer science at no cost.

The AP tests translate to college credit if a student decides to go that route.

DRUNKEN DRIVING SENTENCE

Man sentenced to 15 years for fatal drunken driving crash

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota man with a history of drunken driving has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a crash that left two people dead and two people injured.

South Central District Judge Sonna Anderson says 29-year-old Riley Plenty Chief, of Cannon Ball, could be sent back to prison for up to 20 years if he violates probation after his release.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that Plenty Chief pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and two counts of criminal vehicular injury.

Authorities say Plenty Chief was drunk when he caused a head-on crash south of Mandan last year that that killed 55-year-old Glen Todd Fox and 36-year-old Nation End of Horn, both of Fort Yates.

Plenty Chief was convicted twice of drunken driving in 2011.

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

Wednesday, May 24th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT
POOL DEATH-SETTLEMENTS

People charged in Velva drowning settle claims with state

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

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Three people who were charged and then cleared in the drowning of a 5-year-old girl in the city swimming pool in Velva have settled claims against the state for the costs of defending themselves.

KFGO radio says an open records request shows the three claims were worth more than $72,000.

The former McHenry County state's attorney filed the charges accusing the employees of negligence in allowing a day care to remain open even though its license had lapsed. The charges were later dismissed.

Attorney Mark Friese of Fargo represented Julie Leer, a former lawyer for the North Dakota Department of Human Services in Bismarck. KFGO says Leer will be paid more than $28,000.

Friese says the charges should not have been filed in the first place.

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FINANCIAL COMMISSIONER

Financial Institutions commissioner retiring late this year

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The head of North Dakota's Department of Financial Institutions is calling it a career.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that Commissioner Robert Entringer is retiring at the end of November.

Entringer has served in state government for more than three decades, and was appointed to the department's top position in January 2011.

Gov. Doug Burgum says Entringer "built a well-deserved reputation as a fair regulator who provides consistently sound oversight of our state-chartered banks, credit unions and other financial services providers."

STATE WORKER BUYOUTS

173 North Dakota state employees apply for a buyout

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Officials say 173 employees from cabinet-level agencies in state government have applied for voluntary buyouts.

In April, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum gave agency heads the option to offer buyouts to employees. In a letter drafted by Burgum's office, agencies told employees the buyouts might limit the need for layoffs.

The deadline to apply for a buyout was Monday. It's up to the agencies to determine which buyouts are accepted.

The applicants include Financial Institutions Commissioner Robert Entringer, Deputy State Health Officer Arvy Smith and Sheila Peterson, the fiscal management director for the Office of Management and Budget.

The options for the buyouts range from a lump-sum payout of three months' salary to accepting no pay but staying on the state's health insurance plan for a year.

NORTH DAKOTA HOMELESS

Survey: Number of homeless North Dakotans increases

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The number of homeless people in North Dakota increased in the past year with people in search of work accounting for the greatest number of those without housing.

April Fairfield, executive director of the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People, says volunteers counted 331 "unsheltered" homeless people during a one-day survey on Jan. 26. That's up from 216 unsheltered homeless last year but down from a record 1,395 in 2013.

This year's higher count comes as the state has slashed funding to combat the problem due to budget problems brought on by depressed oil and crop prices.

The Legislature included $2 million for homeless programs in the two-year budget that ended in 2015. Legislators have set aside only $300,000 in the budget that starts July 1.

BIG TEN TOURNAMENT

Indiana-Minnesota opens Big 10 tourney; Nebraska is top seed

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota will throw the first pitch of the Big Ten baseball tournament, facing Indiana to start the eight-team event.

The third seed Gophers will get the double-elimination bracket going Wednesday morning against the sixth seed Hoosiers, who are hosting this year .

First-time regular season champion Nebraska will play eighth seed Purdue. Second seed Michigan will face seventh seed Northwestern. Fourth seed Maryland and fifth seed Iowa will square off in the last of the four Wednesday openers.

The championship is Sunday afternoon with an NCAA tournament automatic bid for the winner, which was Ohio State last year. Minnesota and Nebraska received at-large bids to the NCAA tournament in 2016.

The Big Ten tournament began in 1981. Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State have the most titles with nine apiece.

EX-WIFE KILLING-ACCOMPLICE

Woman accused of helping husband plan murder of ex-wife

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A Minot woman is accused of helping her husband plan the murder of his ex-wife.

Twenty-six-year-old Cynthia Louise Wilder is charged with criminal conspiracy to committee murder and accomplice to escape. She faces life in prison without parole.

Richie Wilder Jr., was sentenced this month to life without parole for stabbing his ex-wife, Angila Wilder, 44 times in her bedroom on Nov. 13, 2015. The 30-year-old Angila Wilder was pregnant when she was murdered.

Cynthia Wilder told Judge Gary Lee Monday that she did not understand the basis of the charges against her. Defense attorney Andrew Schultz told Lee the charges seemed based on the word of a single confidential informant.

Cynthia Wilder has been an elementary teacher for the Minot Public Schools for the past two years.


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

Tuesday, May 23rd 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT
BURGUM-SALARY

Burgum to donate salary to improve addiction treatment

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Doug Burgum says he'll donate his salary since taking office in December to addiction recovery and treatment initiatives.

Burgum says in a statement that his wife, Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, will announce the initiatives later. Burgum says his donation will be "seed money" in improving addiction treatment statewide.

Helgaas Burgum has said in the past she is a recovering alcoholic and wanted to use her experience to help others.

Burgum's gross salary for the half-year amounts to about $72,000, and a net of about $51,500 will be donated.

He said he plans to decline a salary starting July 1.

CROP REPORT

Cool temperatures, rain affect North Dakota planting

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Cooler temperatures and rainfall slowed planting for North Dakota farmers in the eastern third of the state.

The weekly crop report from the federal Agriculture Department says rain didn't have has much of an effect on fieldwork in the western two-thirds of the state.

Corn was 82 percent planted and 38 percent emerged. Soybeans are 57 percent planted, behind last year's 77 percent.

North Dakota's spring wheat crop is 88 percent planted. The state's winter wheat crop has just started to head and was rated 74 percent in good to excellent condition.

In the ranching community, pasture and range conditions were rated 54 percent in good to excellent condition and stock water supplies were rated 91 percent adequate to surplus.

OIL PIPELINE-LEAKS

APNewsBreak: 2 more leaks found along Dakota Access pipeline

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline and a feeder line leaked more than 100 gallons (380 liters) of oil in North Dakota in March.

A state Health Department database shows 84 gallons (320 liters) spilled at a pipeline terminal in Watford City March 3. Dakota Access developer Energy Transfer Partners says the line is operated by a connecting shipper.

An agency of the federal Department of Transportation reports that 20 gallons (75 liters) leaked March 5 at an above-ground Dakota Access station in rural Mercer County. Both spills have been cleaned up.

The pipeline also leaked 84 gallons of oil at a rural pump station in South Dakota on April 4.

Pipeline opponents say leaks bolster their demands for further environmental review. ETP says the North Dakota-to-Illinois pipeline is safe.

SHERIFF CHARGED

Corrections chief disapproves of Ward County decision

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

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The head of North Dakota's prison system isn't pleased that criminal charges have been dropped against former Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski.

Corrections chief Leann Bertsch tells the Minot Daily News she wanted the case to go trial, "so the public would know all the details."

Kukowski was charged with misdemeanors connected to the 2014 death of jail inmate Dustin Irwin. Prosecutors alleged Kukowski didn't attempt to get medical care for Irwin despite being aware of a medical condition.

A special prosecutor asked last month that the charges be dropped, at the request of the Ward County Commission. Commissioners said it was the best move financially.

Kukowski was suspended in 2016, and he resigned in April. The county agreed to pay him a $75,000 settlement and voted to keep private an audio recording from an executive session where the resignation was discussed.

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MESCHKE-FUNERAL

Funeral set for late state Supreme Court Justice Meschke

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Funeral services are scheduled Wednesday for former state lawmaker and North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Herbert Meschke.

Meschke died Friday at his home near Minot, at age 89. His funeral is at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Vincent United Methodist Church in Minot.

Meschke served in the state House and Senate in the 1960s. He was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1985 by Gov. George Sinner and served until retiring in 1999.

Meschke graduated from Belfield High School, and earned a degree in economics from Jamestown College in 1950. He went on to study law at the University of Michigan, graduating with distinction in 1953.

SENIOR PRANK-CHARGES

High school students charged after water balloon fight

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

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A water balloon fight has landed three Minot high school students in hot water.

The Minot Daily News reports (asterisk)http://bit.ly/2q8R5OB ) that an 18-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after the water balloon fight last week in the lunch room at Magic City Campus.

Police say the teens "caused disruption in the school environment" because of the "yelling and screaming connected to the water balloons being thrown."

Assistant Superintendent Kim Slotsve says the water on the floor also caused a hazard.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Supporters of the boys have set up an online petition asking for the charges to be dropped.

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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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