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Stenehjem wants human rights complaint dismissed
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (STEHN'-juhm) has asked the state Department of Labor and Human Rights to dismiss a complaint filed by a white supremacist.
Stenehjem said during a radio news interview last month that Craig Cobb and his supporters "are not the kind of people wanted in North Dakota." Cobb alleges that's discrimination.
Stenehjem says he has the right under the First Amendment to express his views just like any other citizen.
Cobb has bought land in the small town of Leith (leeth) and is trying to turn it into an Aryan enclave. He's currently in custody on terrorizing charges and does not have an attorney. No one has been answering his cellphone.
ND tops in nation in funding tobacco programs
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A coalition of public health organizations says North Dakota is tops in the nation in funding programs to prevent children from smoking and to help smokers quit. South Dakota isn't far from the top.
The report says North Dakota spends $9.5 million each year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, meeting the funding level recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. North Dakota and Alaska are the only states that fund tobacco programs at CDC-recommended levels.
The report was released by groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society.
South Dakota ranked 13th in funding tobacco programs. The report says the state spends $4 million each year, about one-third of what the CDC recommends.
CHRONIC WASTING UPDATE
CWD found again in southwestern ND hunting unit
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A mule deer shot by a hunter in western Grant County in southwestern North Dakota has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
The testing done at Michigan State University is being verified by a national lab in Ames, Iowa.
It is the fourth deer killed in the 3F2 hunting unit to test positive for the disease in the past five years. Infected mule deer were killed in 2009, 2010 and 2011, all in the same general area.
CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. The state Game and Fish Department has been monitoring for it since 2002 through samples taken from hunter-harvested deer.
Scientists have found no evidence that the disease can be transmitted naturally to people or livestock.
TRIBAL VIOLENCE TASK FORCE
DOJ official calls ND meeting an important step
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A high-ranking U.S. Department of Justice official says Monday's tribal nations meeting in North Dakota is an early and important step in protecting Native American and Alaska Native children.
U.S. Associate Attorney General Tony West, the department's third-highest official, is in Bismarck for the first public hearing of a 12-member task force that will examine the impact of exposure to violence on Native children.
The task force is the latest effort by the Justice Department to address violence on reservations, particularly against women and children. It is co-chaired by former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, a longtime advocate for Native American issues.
West says no one expects the work to be easy, but it is an investment in children and the future of sovereign tribal nations.
TRIBAL OIL TAXES
ND tax accord nets $40M monthly for tribe, state
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A tax agreement that standardized the rules and spurred oil drilling on the Fort Berthold Reservation is bringing in more than $40 million monthly for the state and tribal members.
The tax agreement in place since 2008 has netted North Dakota $445.4 million, with the Three Affiliated Tribes getting $315.3 million.
Tribal members successfully pressed lawmakers this year for an equal cut of oil production taxes, saying the extra money was needed to fund drilling impacts unforeseen when the tribes first signed the pact with the state. The new tax agreement went into effect in September and has netted the tribe nearly $62 million in three months.
Tribal vice chairman Fred Fox says oil drilling on the reservation has brought hope, jobs and business opportunities for tribal members.
Co-op agreement finalized for buyback program
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The U.S. Department of the Interior says it has finalized the first cooperative agreement in a $1.9 billion Native American land buyback program stemming from the settlement of a nearly 17-year lawsuit over more than a century's worth of mismanaged trust royalties.
The agreement reached with the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota outlines the strategy and resources to be provided to tribal leaders for outreach and education.
The 10-year buyback program is the largest part of the $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont., in 1996 and finalized last year.
The department says outreach is already underway on Pine Ridge, and the department intends to make the first offers by the end of the year.
MOBILE HOME FIRE
Daycare kids escape small mobile home fire
(Information in the following story is from: The Forum, http://www.in-forum.com)
WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A caregiver and seven children escaped a small fire in a West Fargo mobile home daycare.
The Forum reports that the kids were huddled in a sport utility vehicle as firefighters arrived about 10:15 a.m. Monday. A nearby sanitation worker who's also a volunteer firefighter heard the call and responded.
West Fargo Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider says the firefighter went inside, grabbed the burning material and hauled it outside. The firefighter then took shovels of snow inside to extinguish the burning carpet.
Schatschneider says the fire started in a bedroom in an electrical outlet shared by a heater and radio. The wires shorted out, igniting a pair of blue jeans on the floor.
He says there were no injuries, but the blaze left a smoky smell.
Traffic, construction hurts Amtrak's performance
(Information in the following story is from: Flathead Beacon, http://www.flatheadbeacon.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — An increase in freight traffic and hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements on BNSF Railway tracks across North Dakota and Montana combined to make Amtrak travel less-than-reliable in recent months.
The Flathead Beacon reports the eastbound Empire Builder, which travels from Chicago to Portland and Seattle, had a zero percent on-time performance during October.
BNSF spokesman Matthew Jones says one of the main reasons for the delays are track improvements being made in the railroad's northern route between the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.
Jones says there also are more oil trains and general freight trains running across the Hi-Line.
Jones says the track repairs are wrapping up. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the railroad is expecting to be able to improve its on-time performance.
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