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Latest North Dakota News
Wednesday, October 18th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT

Upper Midwest farmers report damage from dicamba herbicide

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Hundreds of Upper Midwest farmers are reporting damage from the controversial herbicide dicamba.

The agriculture departments in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota this fall all asked farmers to respond to surveys so they could gauge the amount of damage in their states. More than 200 farmers in each state indicated damage.

State officials are considering restrictions for the 2018 growing season that might surpass even new federal rules.

Dicamba has been around for decades, but complaints surfaced across the country this summer over drifting of newly registered formulations onto neighboring crops.

The federal government on Friday released new label language classifying the new formulations as restricted-use products. That means additional requirements for applicators and limitations on when and how the herbicide can be sprayed.


Insurance commissioner to deny additional rate increases

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread says he will deny any additional rate increases to individual health insurance premiums under the Obama health care law.

Godfread said last week that President Donald Trump's plan to halt payments to insurers under the law could potentially raise health insurance costs as much as an additional 10 percent for up to 42,000 North Dakotans.

He said Tuesday he won't allow that. He said the issue is between insurance carriers and the federal government, and it's his duty to look out for consumers.

Medica says Godfread's move cements its decision to withdraw its individual health plans from the federal marketplace in North Dakota.

Blue Cross Blue Shield says it will stay in the federal marketplace, and absorb the loss of the federal payments.


Opioid indictment of Chinese nationals tied to North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A pair of Chinese nationals has been indicted on charges that they manufactured tons of fentanyl and other powerful narcotics that were peddled in the United States and flowed, in part, through North Dakota.

Authorities said the men controlled one of the most prolific international drug-trafficking organizations but with no extradition treaty with China, the changes are slim they will ever be brought to the U.S. to face the charges.

One of the two, 38-year-old Jian Zhang, was indicted in the District of North Dakota, along with eight others accused in the conspiracy.

North Dakota U.S. Attorney Christopher Myers says the whole investigation began in January 2015 with the overdose death of 18-year-old Bailey Henke in Grand Forks. Officials say American customers could purchase pure fentanyl and other dangerous drugs online, directly from Chinese factories. Inexperienced users don't know the drug is pure and overdose.


Week of dry weather helps with harvest of late-season crops

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Dry conditions over the past week have helped North Dakota farmers with the harvest of late-season crops.

The weekly crop report from the federal Agriculture Department shows that the potato, sugar beet and dry bean harvests are nearing completion, and the soybean harvest is about three-fourths complete.

The corn and sunflower harvests are just getting underway.

The planting of winter wheat is 86 percent complete, with 68 percent of the crop emerged. The majority of the crop is rated in fair to good condition.

In the ranching community, pasture and range conditions are rated 54 percent poor or very poor. Stock water supplies are 50 percent in those categories.


Minnesota judge allows 'necessity defense' in pipeline case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge has taken the unusual step of allowing four protesters to use a "necessity defense," enabling them to present evidence that the threat of climate change from Canadian tar sands crude justified their attempt to shut down two Enbridge Energy pipelines last year.

Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein acknowledge they turned the shut-off valves on two pipelines in Minnesota as part of a coordinated action against five pipelines in northern states. A total of 11 activists were charged.

Johnston and Klapstein, of the Seattle area, say that as far as their team knows, this is the first time a judge has allowed a full necessity defense on a climate change issue. They're due to go on trial Dec. 11. Two co-defendants who filmed them will stand trial later.


Alaska Native leader nominated for Indian Affairs post

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal officials say Arctic Slope Regional Corp. official Tara Sweeney has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be the next assistant Indian Affairs secretary.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the nomination Tuesday.

Officials say Sweeney would be the first Alaska Native and second woman to hold the position if the U.S. Senate confirms her nomination.

Sweeney, executive vice president for external affairs for the regional Native corporation, said in a statement she is honored by the nomination. She says would strive to develop strong relationships with tribes and "create a more effective voice" for them.

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

Tuesday, October 17th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT

The Latest: Coast Guard suspends search for missing man

KENNER, La. (AP) — The Coast Guard has suspended its search for the man who was unaccounted for after an explosion on an oil platform in Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner, Louisiana.

Forty-four-year-old contractor Timothy Morrison of Katy, Texas, was still missing after the Sunday night explosion.

Seven other people were injured, three critically.

Cmdr. Zac Ford said in a statement Monday night, "The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one. We send our thoughts and prayers to the Morrison family and all those affected by this incident."

The fire on the platform, which is owned by Clovelly Oil Co., was extinguished Monday morning.


Police: Bismarck officer shot, wounded man who attacked him

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Police say a Bismarck man has been charged with assaulting an officer who shot the suspect.

Authorities say 51-year-old Donald Miller was shot in the stomach by the officer, who was responding to an unrelated call.

Police say Miller was trying to steal the officer's car on Sunday. The officer, whose name was not released, used a stun gun on Miller before shooting him during a struggle. KFGO reports the officer was punched and his eyes were gouged.

Miller is in a hospital being treated for his gunshot wound. The officer was treated at the hospital for head and eye injuries.



Bismarck men's shelter being sold but future still uncertain

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An emergency men's shelter in Bismarck that's facing financial problems might remain open this winter if an entity can be found to operate it.

Officials announced in August that the Ruth Meiers Hospitality House would be closed and sold. The Bismarck Tribune reports that the Heartview Foundation is buying the facility and is willing to allow its use as a shelter this winter.

However, Heartview Executive Director says the foundation that provides chemical dependency treatment doesn't have funding or staff to operate a homeless shelter.

The Missouri Valley Coalition for Homeless People says groups that have been working to address the emergency shelter crisis will meet again this week to discuss the matter.

The shelter houses 30-70 men each night and is the only facility of its kind in Bismarck-Mandan.



State expecting hundreds of applications for hay-hauling aid

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Agriculture Department is expecting hundreds of applications over the next three weeks from drought-stricken ranchers seeking money to help pay the cost of hauling in hay to maintain their herds through winter.

The state Emergency Commission in late August approved $1.5 million in aid to help with hay-hauling costs, in response to the worst drought in decades.

The state has received about 60 applications so far, and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is expecting as many as 700 by the Nov. 3 deadline.

With hay in short supply, the department also is expanding the program to include straw used for feed.

Straw is typically used for animal bedding, but North Dakota Stockmen's Association Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson says it's commonly used as a livestock feed ingredient during droughts.


North Dakota Stockmen's Association re-elects president

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gackle rancher Warren Zenker will lead North Dakota's largest rancher organization for another year.

Zenker was re-elected president of the North Dakota Stockmen's Association at the group's recent 88th annual convention and trade show in Fargo.

Zenker has been a Stockmen's member for 24 years. He and his family farm, ranch and run a feedlot.

McVille rancher Dan Rorvig was re-elected vice president.

The Stockmen's Association represents more than 3,000 cattle-ranching families. Officers serve up to two one-year terms.


State Department grants permit for Alberta Clipper pipeline

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The State Department has granted Enbridge Energy a presidential permit for the final piece of its project to boost the capacity of its Alberta Clipper oil pipeline.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge has been operating the pipeline, formally called Line 67, since 2010. The company upgraded its pumping stations in 2014 and 2015 to nearly double its capacity to 800,000 barrels per day.

But Enbridge needed the permit for the 3-mile segment that crosses the U.S.-Canadian border near Neche, North Dakota. After nearly five years of review, the State Department said Monday that issuing the permit serves the national interest.

Enbridge has been running Line 67 at full capacity by using a short detour into a parallel pipeline for crossing the border.

Line 67 carries Alberta crude across Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.

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

Monday, October 16th 2017
Associated Press North Dakota News
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. CDT

Male shot by a Bismarck police officer outside motel

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a male suspect has been shot and wounded by a Bismarck police officer outside a local motel.

Police say an officer was doing follow-up on an unrelated call Sunday shortly before 10 a.m. when he was attacked before he could get out of his car. Police say the officer was punched in the head repeatedly had his eyes gouged.

Police say the officer fought back and tried to use a stun gun on the attacker but that was "ineffective."

Police say the officer then shot the suspect in the abdomen to stop the attack. The suspect was taken to a local hospital for surgery.

The officer also was taken to a local hospital and was treated for head and serious eye injuries.



Chancellor raises concern about protecting research

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota University System chancellor says potential customers who are interested in teaming with North Dakota researchers on fields like unmanned aircraft are balking because of the state's open records laws.

Chancellor Mark Hagerott told the state Board of Higher Education during last month's meeting that some leading research universities are afraid to partner on projects because they fear the state isn't doing enough to protect its data, especially in light of recent worldwide events involving the spread of information.

Hagerott, who was the focus of a 2016 open records dispute that was made public last month, says he was raising the point "as an open question" and the issue would be addressed by the board's governance committee.

The Legislature recently passed a bill on protecting university research.


North Dakota adult education programs deal with budget cuts

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

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Adult education programs around North Dakota are dealing with a one-third cut to their funding.

Minot Daily News reports that about 10 percent of the state's population between the ages of 16 and 55 don't have a high school diploma or GED diploma.

State director of adult education Valerie Fischer says many people don't understand how valuable adult education is.

Supporters of adult education programs say investing in them can lead to big benefits, since those with diplomas earn more and are less likely to rely on welfare programs. Adult education officials say the children of GED earners also tend to have better educational outcomes.

The funding cut has led to a decrease in programs offered at the Minot Adult Learning Center's satellite sites.



Sioux Falls library to offer free Lakota language classes

(Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The man who oversees a Lakota language program at Sioux Falls public schools is now offering Lakota classes to the public.

The Argus Leader reports that Tim Easter will teach one-hour classes one Sunday a month at the Downtown Library in Sioux Falls until January.

Less than 10 percent of Lakota people speak the language, and most of them are elders. Easter says the language was "pretty much forbidden" for years.

Easter says that even after being marginalized and repressed for decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Lakota language.

He says there's now a strong interest in preserving the language at reservation schools and in South Dakota communities, especially in the western half of the state.




US agency's bid to allow trumpeter swan hunting draws fire

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal plan to let hunters shoot trumpeter swans has drawn fire from some of the people who toiled to bring the majestic white birds back from the brink of extinction.

Trumpeter swans have made a comeback thanks to efforts to reintroduce them. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a plan aimed at letting hunters shoot them in states that allow the hunting of tundra swans, a more numerous species.

Officials say no state is proposing a hunting season for trumpeter swans. But they acknowledge the proposal opens up the possibility.

Brad Bortner with the Fish and Wildlife Service says the plan is mostly designed to protect hunters in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina and Virginia who mistake a trumpeter swan for a tundra swan.


Man sentenced to 6 years in prison for role in meth ring

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A 62-year-old man indicted in a western North Dakota methamphetamine ring has been sentenced to six years in federal prison.

Kim Davis Johnson pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy to distribute with intent to distribute meth. He is one of 10 people charged in the case.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that prosecutors asked for a sentence of more than seven years. Johnson's attorney, Stormy Vickers, asked for five years. Vickers said Johnson was a middleman in the meth operation who set up the deals. Vickers said his client didn't have money or drugs.

Johnson told U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland he suffers from drug addiction and mesothelioma stemming from working in mines in Montana. Johnson told Hovland he didn't want to die in prison.


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

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