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Associated Press North Dakota News

Friday, April 19th 2019


Police respond to armed standoff, then leave scene

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Fargo police tried unsuccessfully to coax an armed man out of an apartment building where he was holed up and threatening to harm himself.

Police were on the scene for several hours Thursday night at the Cheyenne Estates apartments. Residents were evacuated as police set up a perimeter and tried to convince the man to come out.

Authorities say the man made no threats to anyone else. After consulting with the man's family, officers left the scene.

Police spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker says it was an attempt to de-escalate the situation. There's no word Friday on the man's condition.


North Dakota, Dakota Access developer settle land dispute

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The state of North Dakota and the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline have settled a lawsuit over the company's ownership of ranchland.

North Dakota law bans corporations from the farming industry. But Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners bought ranchland in September 2016 to protect construction workers from protesters. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (STEHN'-juhm) eventually sued .

The settlement awaiting a state judge's approval involves a business structure that technically keeps the land tied to ETP. But Stenehjem says the setup is "proper and legal" and he isn't opposing ETP's request to dismiss the case.

The deal ends the prospect of the state levying thousands of dollars in fines against the developer. ETP didn't respond to a request for comment on how the land will be used.


Senate kills measure making it tougher to tap oil savings

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Senate has killed a resolution that would have made it tougher for the Legislature to tap earnings from the state's oil tax savings account.

The Senate on Thursday voted 46-1 to replace the resolution with another that would study potential uses for Legacy Fund earnings.

The original resolution sponsored by Democratic Rep. Corey Mock initially had broad bipartisan support from legislative leaders in both chambers.

Mock argued that earnings should be "retained and reinvested" instead of automatically going into the state's general fund for lawmakers to spend.

Voters would have had to approve the resolution.

Senate Finance and Taxation Committee Chairman Dwight Cook says he doesn't think voters would have supported it.


Man pleads guilty in fatal stabbing in New Town

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

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A New Town man accused of fatally stabbing another man on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Twenty-seven-year-old Donovan Duchaine is charged with second-degree murder and assault with a dangerous weapon in the death of 29-year-old David Rios, also of New Town. The Bismarck Tribune reports that the plea deal calls for the second charge to be dropped.

Authorities say Rios was stabbed outside a New Town residence on May 25. Duchaine fled the scene and led law enforcement on a high-speed vehicle chase.

Duchaine said during Thursday's court hearing that he had been drinking the night he killed Rios. Duchaine said he fled because he was scared.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 29.



Burgum signs bill to collar people with fake service animals

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a measure that makes it illegal to pass a pet off as a service animal.

Burgum says he signed the measure Wednesday night. The bill makes it an infraction for falsely claiming a pet as a service animal to "gain admission to a public place" or obtain housing.

An infraction has a maximum fine of $1,000.

Backers of the bill say it is aimed at protecting disabled people who truly rely on service animals.

About two dozen other states have enacted similar laws.


Bankers survey: March floods in Midwest hitting farmers hard

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of rural bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states shows about one of every five expects an increase in farm loan defaults stemming from last month's devastative Midwest floods.

The Rural Mainstreet survey for April, released Thursday, shows the survey's overall index dropping from 52.9 in March to 50 this month. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says "43.8 percent of bank CEOs indicated that the recent floods were having a negative impact on their local economy."

Bankers also noted that farm loans for April surged as the borrowing index climbed to 81.3, the highest recorded since the survey began in 2006.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

Associated Press North Dakota News

Tuesday, April 16th 2019


Teen rescued from Red River after kayak flips

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

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — A teen who ventured out on the swollen Red River in a kayak has been rescued after the boat capsized in Grand Forks.

Police say members of a water rescue team found the 19-year-old Grand Forks man on a tree limb in the river just before midnight Monday. He told authorities he launched his kayak to get a look at the river, but it hit a cement structure causing it to capsize.

KFGO reports he was wearing a life jacket and managed to swim to the tree limb where he yelled for help. The teen was taken to Altru Hospital to be evaluated. Grand Forks police are urging people to stay away from the fast-flowing river for now.



Affidavit details fraud case of man linked to Russian agent

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Newly unsealed documents in the fraud case of a South Dakota man linked to an admitted Russian covert agent accuse him of obtaining at least $2.3 million from 78 people for bogus investments dating to at least 1997.

Paul Erickson has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. Authorities say he promised returns of up to 150 percent while spending the money on personal expenses such as motels, flights and college tuition for Maria Butina, Erickson's former girlfriend.

An affidavit unsealed Monday shows that Erickson came to the attention of the FBI in 2016, over alleged fraudulent investments in the North Dakota oil patch.

Butina pleaded guilty in December to trying to infiltrate conservative political groups as a Kremlin secret agent.

Erickson's attorney, Clint Sargent, did not immediately return a phone message.


Burgum 'read every letter' before signing abortion bill

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Republican Gov. Doug Burgum made no comment last week when he signed legislation making it a crime for a doctor performing a second-trimester abortion to use instruments such as clamps, scissors and forceps to remove the fetus from the womb.

Pressed Monday to expand on his approval, Burgum says simply that he considered both sides before deciding to sign the bill.

The bill passed easily in the GOP-led Legislature last month. But Burgum tells The Associated Press that he "read every letter" that came to him on supporting or opposing the bill before deciding to sign it.

Abortion-rights groups argue that banning the procedure is unconstitutional because it interferes with private medical decisions.

The bill becomes effective if a federal appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court allows its enforcement.


Legislature raises bar on constitutional amendments

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota voters will get to decide if it should be more difficult for citizens to amend the state constitution.

Senators on Monday approved House amendments to a resolution that allows the Legislature to vote on an initiated measure following voters' approval.

Votes in both chambers largely fell along party lines, with Democrats dissenting.

Any initiated measures would go back to voters for final approval if it fails to win lawmakers' endorsement.

Opponents of the resolution argue the move damages residents' participation in the legislative process and is contrary to the will of the people.

North Dakota is among about two dozen states with some form of an initiative process.


Legislature passes bill aimed at fake service animals

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Legislature has passed a measure that makes it illegal to pass a pet off as a service animal.

Representatives voted 85-4 on Monday to approve the measure that makes it an infraction for falsely claiming a pet as a service animal to "gain admission to a public place" or obtain housing.

An infraction has a maximum fine of $1,000.

The Senate approved the bill earlier.

Backers of the bill say it is aimed at protecting disabled people who truly rely on service animals.


University drone teams compete in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Drone pilots from nearly two dozen universities across the country gathered in Grand Forks over the weekend to compete in the national collegiate drone racing championship at the University of North Dakota.

For about 60 pilots from 23 university club teams it's more than competition, it's about having the opportunity to meet with drone industry officials and learn about the latest technology.

UND senior Jordan Krueger tells Minnesota Public Radio News competitors have intrinsic knowledge of their drone, so that when it crashes they can fix it. Krueger estimates there are about 300 drone racing pilots at universities across the country, but many lack resources to compete in a sport because equipment can cost a couple of thousand dollars.

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