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Latest North Dakota News
Monday, January 20th 2020

Associated Press North Dakota News

NEW POLICE DEPARTMENT

Small North Dakota starting its own police department

GARRISON, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota city of about 1,500 residents is starting its own police department after officials rejected a proposal to continue to contract services from the McLean County Sheriff's Office. The new police chief for the city of Garrison starts Monday. The city had been contracting services from the sheriff's department since 1969, but council members rejected renewing the contract for 2020. That decision has meant the town has been virtually without law enforcement presence since Jan. 1. The Bismarck Tribune reports that Garrison officials were unhappy about increasing costs from the contract and felt that the sheriff's department wasn't enforcing city ordinances diligently.

CONTRACTOR SCAM

North Dakota officials warn of contractor scam in oil patch

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota attorney general's office is warning about a scam involving bogus contractors who have been taking advantage of unsuspecting rural homeowners in the oil patch. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has issued a cease and desist order against Gorman General Contracting and 11 individuals accused of violating the state's consumer fraud, transient merchant and contractor laws. Investigators say the group is part of a large out-of-state crime ring known as “Travelers” or Irish Travelers" and has used deceptive means to get money from customers. The suspects have performed work without permission and used intimidation to make the victim pay for shoddy work, among other things.

RESERVATIONS-DISASTER RECOVERY

Reservations brace for winter storms amid slow recovery

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) — Native American reservations across South Dakota are still struggling to recover from a storm last year that dumped snow and rain, swelling rivers and swallowing roads. Residents are living with caved-in roofs, boarded-up windows, and roads that may become impassable when it snows. One problem is that homes and roads are battered year after year by storms, making it difficult to qualify for federal funding. Hundreds of people on tribal land have been denied federal funding for home repairs. The rate of disaster assistance approval for households on tribal land is much lower than in more affluent parts of the state.

POT PARDONS-NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota Gov. Burgum pardons 16 low-level pot offenders

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says he has pardoned 16 people convicted of low-level marijuana crimes. It's the first wave in what could be thousands of pardons under a new policy the first-term Republican said allows former offenders to get a second chance. The policy adopted last year allows people with low-level marijuana convictions petition to have their records wiped clean if they avoid unlawful behavior for five years. Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem both supported the change. Burgum says it could address North Dakota’s workforce shortage and grow its economy, while removing the stigma for what are minor cases from years ago.

SNOW STORM-UPPER MIDWEST

Upper Midwest residents wait out blizzard at end of storm

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Most residents in the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota opted to stay indoors while high winds at the back of a powerful winter storm created blowing snow that shut down highways, closed businesses and postponed events. A blizzard warning remained in effect until Saturday evening for the eastern Dakotas, western Minnesota and western Iowa. The National Weather Service says while snowfall totals in most areas were below 5 inches, wind gusts up to 55 mph was reducing visibility to near-zero and making travel impossible.

OIL PRODUCTION-NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota oil production down from October record

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators say oil production in November was down slightly from the record set a month earlier. The Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced an average of 1.51 million barrels of oil daily in November. That's down about 2,500 barrels daily from the record set in October. North Dakota also produced about 94 billion cubic feet of natural gas in November, down from the record 95.3 billion cubic feet set in October. Statewide, companies flared 17% of all gas produced in November, above the 12% target.

Sunday, January 19th 2020

Associated Press North Dakota News

SNOW STORM-UPPER MIDWEST

Upper Midwest residents wait out blizzard at end of storm

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Most residents in the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota opted to stay indoors while high winds at the back of a powerful winter storm created blowing snow that shut down highways, closed businesses and postponed events. A blizzard warning remained in effect until Saturday evening for the eastern Dakotas, western Minnesota and western Iowa. The National Weather Service says while snowfall totals in most areas were below 5 inches, wind gusts up to 55 mph was reducing visibility to near-zero and making travel impossible.

CONTRACTOR SCAM

North Dakota officials warn of contractor scam in oil patch

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota attorney general's office is warning about a scam involving bogus contractors who have been taking advantage of unsuspecting rural homeowners in the oil patch. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has issued a cease and desist order against Gorman General Contracting and 11 individuals accused of violating the state's consumer fraud, transient merchant and contractor laws. Investigators say the group is part of a large out-of-state crime ring known as “Travelers” or Irish Travelers" and has used deceptive means to get money from customers. The suspects have performed work without permission and used intimidation to make the victim pay for shoddy work, among other things.

RESERVATIONS-DISASTER RECOVERY

Reservations brace for winter storms amid slow recovery

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) — Native American reservations across South Dakota are still struggling to recover from a storm last year that dumped snow and rain, swelling rivers and swallowing roads. Residents are living with caved-in roofs, boarded-up windows, and roads that may become impassable when it snows. One problem is that homes and roads are battered year after year by storms, making it difficult to qualify for federal funding. Hundreds of people on tribal land have been denied federal funding for home repairs. The rate of disaster assistance approval for households on tribal land is much lower than in more affluent parts of the state.

POT PARDONS-NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota Gov. Burgum pardons 16 low-level pot offenders

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says he has pardoned 16 people convicted of low-level marijuana crimes. It's the first wave in what could be thousands of pardons under a new policy the first-term Republican said allows former offenders to get a second chance. The policy adopted last year allows people with low-level marijuana convictions petition to have their records wiped clean if they avoid unlawful behavior for five years. Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem both supported the change. Burgum says it could address North Dakota’s workforce shortage and grow its economy, while removing the stigma for what are minor cases from years ago.

OIL PRODUCTION-NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota oil production down from October record

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators say oil production in November was down slightly from the record set a month earlier. The Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced an average of 1.51 million barrels of oil daily in November. That's down about 2,500 barrels daily from the record set in October. North Dakota also produced about 94 billion cubic feet of natural gas in November, down from the record 95.3 billion cubic feet set in October. Statewide, companies flared 17% of all gas produced in November, above the 12% target.

SNOW STORM-UPPER MIDWEST

Winter storm pounds parts of Upper Midwest with heavy snow

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A winter storm was pounding parts of the Upper Midwest with heavy snow and making travel treacherous. In South Dakota and Minnesota, dozens of schools canceled classes Friday ahead of the snowfall. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem ordered state government executive branch offices in 42 counties to close early on Friday. The University of North Dakota also closed Friday afternoon. Snow was making driving dangerous in parts of Minnesota. The Minnesota State Patrol urged people not to travel unless they had to. The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reported more than 6 inches of snow as of Friday afternoon.

Saturday, January 18th 2020

Associated Press North Dakota News

POT PARDONS-NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota Gov. Burgum pardons 16 low-level pot offenders

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says he has pardoned 16 people convicted of low-level marijuana crimes. It's the first wave in what could be thousands of pardons under a new policy the first-term Republican said allows former offenders to get a second chance. The policy adopted last year allows people with low-level marijuana convictions petition to have their records wiped clean if they avoid unlawful behavior for five years. Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem both supported the change. Burgum says it could address North Dakota’s workforce shortage and grow its economy, while removing the stigma for what are minor cases from years ago.

OIL PRODUCTION-NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota oil production down from October record

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota regulators say oil production in November was down slightly from the record set a month earlier. The Department of Mineral Resources says the state produced an average of 1.51 million barrels of oil daily in November. That's down about 2,500 barrels daily from the record set in October. North Dakota also produced about 94 billion cubic feet of natural gas in November, down from the record 95.3 billion cubic feet set in October. Statewide, companies flared 17% of all gas produced in November, above the 12% target.

SNOW STORM-UPPER MIDWEST

Winter storm pounds parts of Upper Midwest with heavy snow

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A winter storm was pounding parts of the Upper Midwest with heavy snow and making travel treacherous. In South Dakota and Minnesota, dozens of schools canceled classes Friday ahead of the snowfall. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem ordered state government executive branch offices in 42 counties to close early on Friday. The University of North Dakota also closed Friday afternoon. Snow was making driving dangerous in parts of Minnesota. The Minnesota State Patrol urged people not to travel unless they had to. The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reported more than 6 inches of snow as of Friday afternoon.

BODY-CHILD NEGLECT

North Dakota woman charged with leaving 6 kids with dead man

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota woman has been charged with felony child neglect after she was accused of leaving six children with the body of an acquaintance who overdosed. Amber Barrett also is charged with a misdemeanor count of failing to report a death. Documents filed in Cass County District Court say police were called on Nov. 16 to a home on a report of an unresponsive man. Officers were let into the home by six minor children who directed them to the man lying on the living room floor. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. Authorities say Barrett knew the man had died but she left for work anyway.

FENTANYL OVERDOSES-NEW CHARGES

Man accused in international fentanyl ring faces new charges

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man accused in an international fentanyl trafficking operation that was uncovered after the death of a North Dakota teen is facing new charges for obstruction of justice. Steven Pinto is one of more than 30 people indicted for dealing the powerful opioid in the U.S. and Canada. Deaths from the drug have been reported in North Dakota, North Carolina, New Jersey and Oregon. Pinto is scheduled for trial in April on numerous charges, including conspiracy to import controlled substances resulting in death. A new indictment unsealed Thursday accuses Pinto of illegally possessing a cellphone in jail and unlawfully downloading and copying evidence.

TRIBES-OIL SPILLS

Tribe members discuss best practices to clean up oil spills

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Tribal members at a Bismarck conference have discussed oilfield best practices, including how to clean up oil spills using microorganisms. According to the Bismarck Tribune, the oilfield service company, Chief Oilfield Services, wants to train more tribal members in the technique. The microorganisms will latch onto the oil and secrete an enzyme that will break the oil down into a fatty acid. In water, the fatty acid becomes food for fish. Tribal members also discussed preparing for a potential spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Plans for a spill response training exercise could take place this summer.

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